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Ruston, Louisiana

Ruston, Louisiana
ruston de Louisiane
The Peach City
City
City of Ruston
Ruston City Hall
Ruston City Hall
Coordinates:
Country  United States
States  Louisiana
Incorporated 1885
Population (2010)
 • Total 21,877
 • Estimate (2013) 22,287
Demonym(s) Rustonian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 71270, 71272, 71273
Area code(s) 318
Interstate
U.S.
Louisiana
Airport Ruston Regional Airport
Website .orgruston

Ruston is a small city in and the parish seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, United States.[1] it is the largest city in the East Central Ark-La-Tex region. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 21,859, reflecting an increase of 6.4 percent from the count of 20,546 counted in the 2000 Census.[2] Ruston is near the eastern border of the Ark-La-Tex region and is the home of Louisiana Tech University. Its economy hence is based on its college population. Ruston hosts the annual Peach Festival.

Ruston is the principal city of the Ruston Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Lincoln and Jackson parishes. The previous mayor, first elected in 1998, was Dan Hollingsworth, an Independent. Ronny Walker was elected as the new mayor on November 4, 2014.

Contents

  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Education 4
    • School District 4.1
    • Senior 4.2
    • University 4.3
    • Special 4.4
  • Culture and recreation 5
  • Media 6
    • Television 6.1
    • Newspaper 6.2
    • Radio 6.3
    • Online 6.4
  • Peach Festival 7
  • National Guard 8
  • Annual John Simoneaux Memorial Jam 9
  • Pop culture references 10
  • Neighborhood 11
  • Notable people 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14

Geography

Ruston is located at (32.529674, -92.640466)[3] and has an elevation of 331 feet (100.9 m).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47 km2), of which, 18.1 square miles (47 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.44%) is water.

Regional cities and their distance from Ruston, Louisiana include:

City Distance, in miles
Monroe, Louisiana 32
Shreveport, Louisiana 68
Natchitoches, Louisiana 77
El Dorado, Arkansas 53
Fort Polk South, Louisiana 148
Texarkana, Texas 139
Little Rock, Arkansas 171
New Orleans, Louisiana 296
Lufkin, Texas 185
Alexandria, Louisiana 94
Lafayette, Louisiana 182
Vicksburg, Mississippi 109

History

Large Greenwood Cemetery in Ruston has graves from the American Civil War era and is the resting place of Robert Edwin Russ, the founder of Ruston, and the publisher Clarence Faulk.

During the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, word soon reached the young parish near what is now Ruston, that the Vicksburg, Shreveport, and Pacific Railroad would begin to run across north Louisiana, linking the Deep South with the West (the current operator is Kansas City Southern Railway). Robert Edwin Russ, the Lincoln Parish sheriff from 1877–1880, donated 640 acres (2.6 km2) to the town and this area was eventually known as Ruston (shorthand for Russ town).[5]

In 1883, commercial and residential lots were created and sold for $375 apiece; and soon the sawing of lumber and clacking of hammers could be heard throughout the area.

As the town began to take shape, new churches, businesses, civic organizations and schools were being established. Cotton farming fueled the economy. In 1900 a second railroad, running north and south, was built through Ruston (the operator before the tracks were removed was Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad). This brought even more business and industry to the area and the population continued to provide a foundation for the local economy. By the time the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, Ruston was established as a center for learning, a place of civic pride and as an area of economic prosperity throughout the region.

In 1938, an African-American 19-year old named R.C. Williams was accused of killing a white man and assaulting a white woman. A crowd captured the young man and tortured him with hot pokers before hanging him from a tree in a lynching.[6] A grand jury ruled that there was insufficient evidence to press charges against any of the perpetrators.[7]

Ruston grew steadily during the post-World War II years. The GI Bill of Rights sent war veterans to college, helped to fuel the local economy, brought growth to the two local universities, Louisiana Tech University and nearby historically black Grambling State University, and new families moved into Lincoln Parish. By the middle 1960s, Interstate 20 passed through the northern part of Ruston. This coast-to-coast highway made Ruston more easily accessible, much as the railroad had done a century earlier. In the 1980s, the state of Louisiana economy declined as the oil industry went into a recession.

Restored historic fire station in downtown Ruston

Ruston, however, continued growing steadily because of the rapid expansion of Louisiana Tech. The city also had its centennial celebration during this decade, and emphasis was placed on revitalizing the historic downtown district. A joint effort between the city and the Louisiana Main Street Program and the Louisiana Department of Historic Preservation brought forth beautification projects to rehabilitate the downtown district, and helped draw the community closer to its roots. More than fifteen buildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The city has a new general aviation airport to serve existing business and industry, and the timber, poultry and cattle industries continue to expand.

Demographics

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 20,546 people, 7,621 households, and 4,244 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,136.4 people per square mile (438.8/km²). There were 8,397 housing units at an average density of 464.5 per square mile (179.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.94% White, 38.92% African American, 0.17% Native American, 2.41% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.29% of the population.

There were 7,621 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.0% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.3% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population consisted of 20.8% under the age of 18, 31.6% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 14.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24.0 years, far below the state median age of 34.0 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,001, and the median income for a family was $37,394. Males had a median income of $33,408 versus $20,413 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,573. About 22.1% of families and 32.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.1% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.

Education

School District

  • Private Cedar Creek School in Ruston.

Senior

University

  • Louisiana Tech University enrolled 11,710 in 2005. It is a doctoral institution focusing on technical and professional disciplines.

Special

Culture and recreation

Behind City Hall is the Ruston Civic Center.

Most cultural activities are offered through Louisiana Tech. Also there are shops downtown, chain restaurants in the city, and an eight-screen Celebrity Theater. Other university-based opportunities exist at Grambling (6 miles) and Monroe (35 miles). The Louisiana Tech University Arboretum interests many visitors.

Early in 2007, the city initiated a blueprint for future growth and development of the Ruston area. Known as "Ruston 21", the plan will evaluate the assets of the community and the ways to achieve goals. It will look citywide at residential development and neighborhoods, recreation planning, transportation issues, economic development, infrastructure concerns, quality of life, and working collaboratively with Louisiana Tech University.

Media

Television

Future Television

Channel Callsign Network Owner
17 KRSN-LP Ind Ruston Broadcasting
34 KMSS Fox Fox Broadcasting

Newspaper

Ruston is served by the Ruston Daily Leader newspaper.

Radio

AM

Frequency Callsign Format Owner
1490 KRUS Gospel Music Red Peach. LLC

FM

Frequency Callsign Format Owner
88.3 KAPI
89.1 KLPI Alternative Rock Louisiana Tech University
91.5 KGRM Urban Gospel
94.1 KRLQ Classic Country
95.5 KQWJ Gospel Jonesboro
97.7 KNBB Sports Red Peach. LLC
99.3 KPCH Oldies Red Peach. LLC
101.3 KBNF-LP 80s Rock Lincoln Parish School aka Ruston High School
104.9 KTOC Gospel Jonesboro
107.5 KXKZ Country Red Peach. LLC

Online

Ruston Rants (A Facebook social discussion)

Peach Festival

Each June, Ruston hosts its annual Peach Festival, sponsored by the Squire Creek Country Club. The 62nd festival was held the weekend of June 22–23, 2012.[11] In 2015, the festival is set for June 26-27, with various contests, events, and prizes available. Five bands will perform on June 27 at the Ruston Civic Center.[12]

Until the 1940s, most area peach farming had been done on a small-scale family basis. In 1947, area peach growers organized the Louisiana Fruit Growers Association and held the first festival four years later on June 27–28, 1951. On that occasion, Justin Wilson, the popular south Louisiana chef and Cajun humorist entertained the audience at Howard Auditorium on the Louisiana Tech campus. Then State Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc of Abbeville in Vermilion Parish, the promoter of the patent medicine known as Hadacol, was invited to crown the first Peach Festival Queen, Ann Colvin of Bernice in Union Parish.[11]

The festival sponsors races of 5K and 1M and a tennis tournament played on the Louisiana Tech courts.[11]

National Guard

527th Engineer Battalion (Triple Alpha) ("Anything, Anytime, Anywhere") is headquartered in Ruston. This battalion is part of the 225th Engineer Brigade of the Louisiana National Guard.

Annual John Simoneaux Memorial Jam

Musicians from all over the country gather annually in Ruston to jam together and to raise money to grow the guitar music scholarship established at LA Tech by this event's organizers; the musicians in the Ruston area who shared the stage with John Simoneaux who was tragically killed in 2000 in an auto accident in Texas as he was headed to Austin for his next gig. Since then the Sundown Tavern has opened its doors to the Johnny Jam and thousands of people have attended the annual event. The event eventually grew so much that a third stage was added at Ponchatoulas next door.[13]

Pop culture references

Neighborhood

Notable people

Ruston water tower off Interstate 20
Chase Bank is located across from the Ruston City Hall (2010).
Large T.L. James Construction Company is based in downtown Ruston.
First Baptist Church in downtown Ruston
The large Temple Baptist Church is located on the south side of Interstate 20 near the Louisiana Tech University exit.


Forest Lawn Memorial Park is located west of Ruston off U.S. Highway 80.
John Simoneaux playing an outdoor festival in North Central Louisiana. Image from 2015 JohnnyJam.org Silent Auction.

References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c "62nd Peach Festival in Ruston June 22", The Piney Woods Journal, June 2012, pp. 15, 17-18
  12. ^ "Everything is Peachy in Ruston again in June", The Piney Woods Journal, June 2015, p. 6
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ Erin Toler, "The Dixie Theater of Ruston," North Louisiana History, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Winter 1999), pp. 3-15
  15. ^
  16. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 53-54
  17. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 313-314
  18. ^
  19. ^ Ruston Daily Leader, October 11, 1933, p. 20

External links

Website
City of Ruston
Ruston-Lincoln Convention And Visitors Bureau
Lincoln Parish
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