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Ruston, Louisiana

Ville de Ruston de Louisiane
City of Ruston
Ruston City Hall
Ruston City Hall
Louisiana's College Town; The Peach City; Rus Vegas
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 in Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana is located in the United States
Ruston, Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Parish Lincoln
Incorporated 1885
Named for Robert Edwin Russ
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Total 21.26 sq mi (55.05 km2)
 • Land 21.19 sq mi (54.88 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
331 ft (101 m)
 • Total 22,166
 • Density 1,046.16/sq mi (403.92/km2)
 • µSA (2016)
47,745 (US: 229th)
 • CSA (2016)
253,286 (US: 117th)
Demonym(s) Rustonian, Rustonite
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
71270, 71272, 71273
Area code(s) 318
Interstate I-20.svg
U.S. US 80.svg US 167.svg
Louisiana Louisiana 146.svg Louisiana 150.svg Louisiana 544.svg Louisiana 818.svg Louisiana 3012.svg Louisiana 3061.svg
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. 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.


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) 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.


Greenwood Cemetery, Ruston, LA IMG 3832
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).

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.

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.

Historic fire station, Ruston, LA IMG 3790
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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 767
1900 1,324 72.6%
1910 3,377 155.1%
1920 3,389 0.4%
1930 4,400 29.8%
1940 7,107 61.5%
1950 10,372 45.9%
1960 13,991 34.9%
1970 17,365 24.1%
1980 20,585 18.5%
1990 20,027 −2.7%
2000 20,546 2.6%
2010 21,859 6.4%
2020 22,166 1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Ruston racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 11,201 50.53%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,867 40.0%
Native American 86 0.39%
Asian 551 2.49%
Pacific Islander 5 0.02%
Other/Mixed 693 3.13%
Hispanic or Latino 763 3.44%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 22,166 people, 7,970 households, and 3,938 families residing in the city.

2010 census

Racial composition 2010
White 52.3%
Non-Hispanic 51.3%
Black or African American 42.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 2.3%
Asian 3.2%

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.

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. 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.

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.


  • Barnet Springs
  • Bocage Place
  • Downtown
  • Marcus Pointe
  • Melrose
  • Savannah Trace
  • The French Quarter
  • Tanglewood, Ruston, Louisiana
  • Wood Stone


Primary and secondary education

Public schools are part of the Lincoln Parish School System. 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 are 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.

Higher education

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.


The 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.

Notable people

  • Trace Adkins, country singer who attended Louisiana Tech; originally from Sarepta
  • Leon Barmore, basketball coach who was born and reared in Ruston, played basketball at Louisiana Tech
  • George W. Bond, president of Louisiana Tech University from 1929 to 1936
  • Terry Bradshaw, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, attended Louisiana Tech
  • Kix Brooks, country music singer, who attended Louisiana Tech.
  • P.J. Brown, retired NBA player, attended Louisiana Tech
  • Mary Elizabeth Talbot Busbee, the First Lady of Georgia from 1975 to 1983, was born and reared in Ruston. Known as "Mary Beth", she was a medical technologist and a graduate of Louisiana Tech. Her husband was the late Democratic Governor George D. Busbee.
  • John R. Conniff, educator, president of Louisiana Tech from 1926 to 1928
  • Martie Cordaro, president and general manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers baseball club
  • Fred Dean, NFL Hall of Famer, attended Ruston High and Louisiana Tech
  • Clarence Faulk, newspaper publisher, radio broadcaster, businessman
  • Tim Floyd, NCAA and NBA basketball coach, attended Louisiana Tech
  • Vic Frazier, MLB pitcher from early 20th century
  • W. C. Friley, founder of Ruston College in late 1880s, a forerunner of Louisiana Tech; later president of Hardin–Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and Louisiana College in Pineville, succeeded there in 1910 by Claybrook Cottingham
  • Ralph Garr, former Major League Baseball player and member of the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame attended Lincoln High School
  • Andy Hamilton, NFL player
  • Will Cullen Hart, indie rock musician, visual artist, and founding member of the Elephant Six Collective and The Olivia Tremor Control, and leader of Circulatory System, attended Ruston High School and was a disc jockey at Louisiana Tech's radio station KLPI
  • Sonja Hogg, founding coach of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters
  • Bert Jones, former NFL player, attended Ruston High School
  • Dub Jones, former NFL player, attended Ruston High.
  • Karl Malone, Basketball Hall of Famer, attended Louisiana Tech, currently lives in Ruston
  • Jeff Mangum, indie rock musician and founding member of the Elephant Six Collective and Neutral Milk Hotel, attended Ruston High School and was a disc jockey at Louisiana Tech's radio station KLPI
  • Monica Maxwell, former WNBA player 1999-2002, played in 2 Final Fours for the Lady Techsters 1998, 1999
  • Luke McCown, NFL quarterback, attended Louisiana Tech
  • Garnie W. McGinty, Louisiana historian
  • Paul Millsap, current NBA player, attended Louisiana Tech
  • Ryan Moats, athlete, attended Louisiana Tech
  • Kim Mulkey, head women's basketball coach of LSU Tigers
  • Virgil Orr, former state representative; Louisiana Tech vice president
  • Joe Raymond Peace, former football coach of Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Ruston resident
  • Arthur T. Prescott, educator and founding president from 1894 to 1899 of Louisiana Tech University
  • Patrick Ramsey, athlete, attended Ruston High
  • Willie Roaf, NFL Hall of Fame player, attended Louisiana Tech
  • Scotty Robertson, high school, college, and professional basketball coach, died in Ruston in 2011
  • W. C. Robinson, mathematics professor and second president of Louisiana Tech from 1899 to 1900
  • Robert Schneider, Indie rock musician, record producer, founding member of the Elephant Six Collective, and frontman of The Apples in Stereo, attended Ruston High School
  • Josh Scobee, current NFL player, attended Louisiana Tech
  • John Simoneaux, blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, graduate of LA Tech; memorial jam held in his memory annually to raise scholarship money
  • Mickey Slaughter, former NFL quarterback, attended, and later coached football for, Louisiana Tech
  • Polly Smith, photographer
  • George Stone, former National League pitcher with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets.
  • Scotty Thurman, former basketball player, attended Arkansas, made the game winning shot in the 1994 NCAA National Championship against Duke.
  • A. L. Williams, retired football coach
  • Kyle Williams, former NFL player, attended Ruston High
  • Clint Williamson, US Ambassador, White House policy official, and international prosecutor
  • John D. Winters, historian of the American Civil War
  • Kenny Wright, NFL defensive back (Minnesota Vikings 1999–2001, Houston Texans 2002–2004, Jacksonville Jaguars 2005, Washington Redskins 2006 and Cleveland Browns 2007)

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ruston (Luisiana) para niños

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