Open main menu

Ruston is a small city in and the parish seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, United States.[3] It is the largest city in the Eastern 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.[4] Ruston is near the eastern border of the Ark-La-Tex region and is the home of Louisiana Tech University. Its economy is therefore based on its college population. Ruston hosts the annual Peach Festival.

Ruston, Louisiana

ruston de Louisiane
City of Ruston
Ruston City Hall
Ruston City Hall
Louisiana's College Town; The Peach City
Location of Ruston in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Ruston in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana.
Ruston, Louisiana is located in Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana
Location of Ruston in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana.
Ruston, Louisiana is located in the US
Ruston, Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana (the US)
Coordinates: 32°31′47″N 92°38′26″W / 32.52972°N 92.64056°W / 32.52972; -92.64056Coordinates: 32°31′47″N 92°38′26″W / 32.52972°N 92.64056°W / 32.52972; -92.64056
Country United States
State Louisiana
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorRonny Walker (R)
 • Total20.98 sq mi (54.35 km2)
 • Land20.92 sq mi (54.17 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
331 ft (101 m)
 • Total21,859
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,069.52/sq mi (412.94/km2)
 • µSA (2016)
47,745 (US: 229th)
 • CSA (2016)
253,286 (US: 117th)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
71270, 71272, 71273
Area code(s)318
U.S.US 80.svg US 167.svg
LouisianaLouisiana 146.svg Louisiana 146.svg Louisiana 544.svg Louisiana 818.svg Louisiana 3012.svg Louisiana 3061.svg
AirportRuston Regional Airport

Ruston is the principal city of the Ruston Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Lincoln parish.



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.


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) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.44%) is water.

Climate data for Ruston (Louisiana Tech Golf Course), 1981–2010 normals[a]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 54.9
Daily mean °F (°C) 43.9
Average low °F (°C) 32.8
Average precipitation inches (mm) 5.12
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.5 9.9 9.9 8.0 9.2 9.5 8.6 7.6 6.8 8.5 8.8 10.2 107.5
[citation needed]


Census Pop.
Est. 201622,370[2]2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
Racial composition 2010[9]
White 52.3%
Non-Hispanic 51.3%
Black or African American 42.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 2.3%
Asian 3.2%

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.


Dixie Theater in downtown Ruston

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 from Ruston) and Monroe (35 miles away). 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.

Opened in 1928, the historic Dixie Theater serves as the visual and performing arts hub of Ruston as it houses the North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Piney Hills Gallery, Ruston Community Theatre, Ruston Civic Symphony Society, Troupe Dixie, independent film screenings, dance recitals, and music concerts.[11] Celebrity Theatres, an eight-screen movie theater with digital projection and sound with 3D capabilities and stadium seating in all auditoriums, opened in Ruston in 2006.[12] On campus at Louisiana Tech, Howard Auditorium and Stone Theatre serve as the university's home for the performing arts, and Louisiana Tech is home to two visual art galleries including the E. J. Bellocq Gallery and the Louisiana Tech Art Gallery.

The Louisiana Military Museum features uniforms, weapons, flags, training gear, aircraft, and vehicles from nearly every conflict in United States history.[13] Built in 1886, the Kidd-Davis house is home to the Lincoln Parish Museum, which exhibits early Ruston history.[14] Located on Louisiana Tech's main campus, The Idea Place Math and Science Discovery Center offers many interactive science exhibits including a planetarium.[15]

Ruston is located in the heart of North Louisiana, known as the Sportsman's Paradise, where outdoor activities like hunting and fishing are popular for residents. Located on the Louisiana Tech campus, Garland Gregory Hideaway Park has a seven-acre lake for fishing and canoeing, walking/running trails, pavilions, grills, ropes course, and an 18-hole frisbee golf course.[16] The North Louisiana Exhibition Center hosts rodeos, barrel races, horse and livestock shows, roping events, and antique car and tractor shows in Ruston.[17]

As home to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Lady Techsters of Conference USA, Ruston is a scene of major college sports. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs football team plays at Joe Aillet Stadium and has won three national championships, won 25 conference championships, and played in 24 postseason games including nine major college bowl games.[18] The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs basketball and Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters basketball teams play their games at the Thomas Assembly Center. The Dunkin' Dawgs have won 25 regular season conference championships, made seven NCAA Tournament appearances including one Sweet Sixteen, and nine NIT appearances.[19] The Lady Techsters have won three national championships and 20 regular season conference championships; have competed in 13 Final Fours, 23 Sweet Sixteens, and 27 NCAA Tournaments; and have the second most wins all-time of any women's college basketball program.[20] The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs baseball team plays at J. C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, has won 21 regular season conference championships, and has participated in eight NCAA Tournaments.[21]

Peach FestivalEdit

Each June, Ruston hosts its annual Peach Festival, sponsored by the Squire Creek Country Club.

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.[22]

The festival sponsors races of 5K and 1M and a tennis tournament played on the Louisiana Tech courts.[22]

Annual John Simoneaux Memorial JamEdit

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.[23]


Primary and secondary educationEdit

Public schools are part of the Lincoln Parish School System.[24] Eight of the twelve Lincoln Parish Schools are located in Ruston. Lincoln Parish Early Childhood Center operates the parish's preschool program in Ruston. Glen View Elementary School and Hillcrest Elementary School teach kindergarten through the second grade. Cypress Springs Elementary School and Ruston Elementary School teach third grade through fifth grade. I. A. Lewis School teaches only sixth grade, and Ruston Junior High School teaches seventh and eighth grades. Ruston High School teaches ninth through twelfth grades.

Located on Louisiana Tech's campus in Ruston, A. E. Phillips Laboratory School offers kindergarten through eighth grade.

Ruston is home to a few private schools. Cedar Creek School and Bethel Christian School college preparatory schools that offer preschool through twelfth grade. New Living Word School also offers preschool through twelfth grade. Montessori School of Ruston offers preschool through eighth grade.

Lorraine Nobles Howard Education Center, known as Howard School, is an alternative school for the residents of the Louisiana Methodist Children's Home in Ruston.[25]

Higher educationEdit

Louisiana Tech University, a national research university, dominates the city of Ruston, providing the city with its distinctive college town character. Grambling State University is located in nearby Grambling, only four miles west of the Louisiana Tech campus. Additionally, Louisiana Delta Community College has a branch campus located in Ruston.[26]


The Ruston Daily Leader is the newspaper serving Ruston and the rest of Lincoln Parish since 1894. The Daily Leader is published Sunday morning and Monday through Friday afternoons. Louisiana Tech University is served by several publications including The Tech Talk, the independent Louisiana Tech student newspaper that reports on local, state, and national issues in addition to campus news. Lincoln Parish News Online is a blog published by Walter Abbott since 2009.

The only AM radio station based in Ruston is KRUS 1490, a gospel music station.


Frequency Callsign Format Owner
88.3 KAPI Religious
89.1 KLPI Alternative Louisiana Tech University
91.5 KGRM Urban contemporary gospel Grambling State University
94.1 KRLQ Classic country North Louisiana Broadcasting, Inc.
97.7 KNBB Sports Red Peach. LLC
99.3 KPCH Oldies Red Peach. LLC
101.3 KBNF-LP 80's Rock Ruston High School
102.3 KWXM 80's Rock North Louisiana Broadcasting, Inc.
104.9 KTOC-FM Gospel Jonesboro
107.5 KXKZ Country Red Peach. LLC

National GuardEdit

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 referencesEdit


Notable peopleEdit

Ruston water tower off Interstate 20
Chase Bank is located across from the Ruston City Hall (2010).
Behind City Hall is the Ruston Civic Center.
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 Silent Auction.


  1. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ "Ruston (city), Louisiana". Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "Robert E. Russ". Archived from the original on February 2, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  6. ^ "Louisiana Mob Lynches Negro". Daily Boston Globe. 14 October 1938.
  7. ^ "Jury Runs True to Form; Whitewashes La. Lynch Inquiry". Pittsburgh Courier. 29 October 1938.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b "62nd Peach Festival in Ruston June 22", The Piney Woods Journal, June 2012, pp. 15, 17-18
  23. ^ a b Mercer, Alfred. "Johnny Jam". The NewsStar. Retrieved 6 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Erin Toler, "The Dixie Theater of Ruston", North Louisiana History, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Winter 1999), pp. 3-15
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Mary Beth Busbee". Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 5, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  30. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 53-54
  31. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, 1925), pp. 313-314
  32. ^ "K. M. Pyburn Rites Will Be Wednesday". The Shreveport Times through May 23, 1967. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  33. ^ Ruston Daily Leader, October 11, 1933, p. 20

External linksEdit