Lafayette Square is located in what is now known as the Central Business District. Previously home Bertrand Gravier's plantation, the land was divided in 1788 to create Faubourg Ste. Marie, New Orleans’ first suburb. Lafayette Square is the second oldest park in New Orleans, after Jackson Square. Lafayette Square was originally named Ville Gravier after the plantation owner Bertrand Gravier until Lafayette’s visit to the city in 1825. 
When city hall moved in 1852 to Gallier Hall, across the street from Lafayette Square, major hotels, banks, and business followed suit. It became the central hub for newspaper headquarters in the 1850’s with 16 newspaper offices in the area by 1910.  However, when city hall moved its operations to Poydras Street in 1959, the area experienced a decline. Adjacent to Lafayette Square, on South Maestri Place, was the former site of the First Presbyterian Church built in 1857; however, a 1915 hurricane destroyed the church. The grounds are now the site of the US Appeals Court offices.
Lafayette Square was designed by Charles Laveau Trudeau, also known as Don Calos Trudeau.  An iron fence, taken down to be reused for World War I machinery, originally enclosed the space. The pathways follow their original design.
There are three statues in Lafayette Square: visages of Henry Clay, John McDonogh, and Benjamin Franklin.
Lafayette Square is currently maintained by both the New Orleans Parks and Recreation Department, and the more location-specific Lafayette Square Conservancy. The Lafayette Square Conservancy is a non-profit group of volunteers founded after Hurricane Katrina to rebuild the park.  Currently, Lafayette Square is the site of numerous food and music festivals.