Established in 1973, the Center for Louisiana Studies (CLS) promotes scholarly investigation into Louisiana’s rich cultures and heritage through acquisition, research, publication, and interpretation. Today, the Center for Louisiana Studies is made up of three complementary divisions. These three components provide a comprehensive structure for researching, publicizing, and promoting Louisiana's cultures and history and allow for flexibility in the manner of the Center's research and presentation methods.
- The Research Division houses the Archive of Cajun and Creole Folklore—the world's largest collection of Cajun and Creole folklore, field recordings, oral histories, and other folklife materials—a vast image archive, and other significant and one-of-a-kind collections, in addition to maintaining an active fieldwork schedule.
- The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press is the world's largest academic publisher devoted exclusively to Louisiana-related works.
- The Programming and Special Projects Division engages the broader community through collaboration with other UL Lafayette departments and external agencies and organizations, as well as through free programming and lectures.