Ruston, Louisiana

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Ruston, Louisiana
ruston de Louisiane
The Peach City
City of Ruston
Country United States
States Louisiana
Population (2010)
 • Total21,877
 • Estimate (2012)21,593
ZIP code71270, 71272, 71273
Area code(s)318
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Ruston, Louisiana
ruston de Louisiane
The Peach City
City of Ruston
Country United States
States Louisiana
Population (2010)
 • Total21,877
 • Estimate (2012)21,593
ZIP code71270, 71272, 71273
Area code(s)318
Ruston water tower off Interstate 20
Behind City Hall is the Ruston Civic Center.
Chase Bank is located across from the Ruston City Hall (2010).
Large T.L. James Construction Company is based in downtown Ruston.
Restored historic fire station 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.
Presbyterian Church of Ruston
The longstanding Dixie Theater in Ruston offers some first-run films as well as community events.
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.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park is located west of Ruston off U.S. Highway 80.

Ruston is a small city in and the parish seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, United States.[1] it is the sixth-largest city in the Region of Ark-La-Tex. The population was 21,859 at the 2010 census, which represents an increase of 6.4 percent from the 2000 tabulation of 20,546.[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 current mayor, first elected in 1998, is Dan Hollingsworth, an Independent.


Ruston is located at 32°31′47″N 92°38′26″W / 32.52972°N 92.64056°W / 32.52972; -92.64056 (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.


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. 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 a piece; 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 and in 1900 a second railroad, running north and south, was built through Ruston. This brought even more business and industry to the area and the population continued to provide a foundation for the local economy. By the outbreak of 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.

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 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.

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 restore the downtown district. More than fifteen buildings have been placed on the National Register and has helped draw the community closer to its roots. The city has a new general aviation airport to serve existing business and industry, and the timber, poultry and cattle industries continue to expand.


As of the census[6] 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.


Lincoln Parish School Board operates public schools in Ruston. Ruston High School is located near the northern part of the Louisiana Tech campus.

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

Louisiana Center for the Blind - Training center for blind teenagers and adults operated by the National Federation of the Blind

Bethel Christian School is located in Ruston.

Culture and Recreation[edit]

Most cultural activities are offered through Louisiana Tech. 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.


Ruston is served by the Ruston Daily Leader newspaper.

Peach Festival[edit]

Each June, Ruston hosts the annual Squire Creek Country Club Peach Festival. The 62nd festival will be held the weekend of June 22–23, 2012.[7]

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 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.[7]

The festival sponsors races of 5K and 1M and a tennis tournament played on the Louisiana Tech courts.[7]

National Guard[edit]

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.

Pop culture references[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Ruston (city), Louisiana". Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Robert E. Russ". Retrieved October 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ a b c "62nd Peach Festival in Ruston June 22", The Piney Woods Journal, June 2012, pp. 15, 17-18
  8. ^ Erin Toler, "The Dixie Theater of Ruston," North Louisiana History, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Winter 1999), pp. 3-15
  9. ^ "Mary Beth Busbee". Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 5, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 53-54
  11. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 313-314
  12. ^ Ruston Daily Leader, October 11, 1933, p. 20

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