Ruston, Louisiana facts for kids
ruston de Louisiane
The Peach City
|City of Ruston|
Ruston City Hall
|• Estimate (2015)||22,340|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP code||71270, 71272, 71273|
|Airport||Ruston Regional Airport|
Ruston is a small city and the parish seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, United States. 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. Ruston is near the eastern border of the Ark-La-Tex region and is the home of Louisiana Tech University, whose athletics is now a part of Conference USA. Its economy is therefore 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 parish. The previous mayor, first elected in 1998, was Dan Hollingsworth, an Independent. Ronny Walker was elected as the new mayor on November 4, 2014.
Ruston is located at(32.529674, -92.640466) and has an elevation of 331 feet (100.9 m).
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 (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).
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. A grand jury ruled that there was insufficient evidence to press charges against any of the perpetrators.
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.
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.
As of the census 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.
Culture and recreation
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.
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. 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.
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.
The festival sponsors races of 5K and 1M and a tennis tournament played on the Louisiana Tech courts.
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.
Pop culture references
- Jack Kerouac refers to Ruston in his book On the Road.
- Indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel was formed in Ruston.
- The longstanding Dixie Theater in Ruston is featured in a 1999 article in the publication North Louisiana History.
- Ruston is also the hometown of Robert Schneider, frontman of The Apples in Stereo. He attended Ruston High School.
- Ruston is mentioned several times in the HBO series True Blood. A vampire on the series is seen wearing a Louisiana Tech Bulldogs sweatshirt.
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