Friday, September 23, 2016

30 Things to Do in Ruston Before You Graduate

By Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant 

Ruston is first and foremost a college town, where students spend some of the best and most exciting years of their lives. College is a time to explore, try new things, and make memories. 
With this in mind, we're challenging students to get out of their dorms and experience these 30 things in Ruston before they graduate!

2. Eat a Dawg House burger

3. Dance the night away at Mardi Gras Ball  

4. Visit the 3 local museums in Lincoln Parish

5. Explore Lincoln Parish Park

Watch the sun set on one of the many piers at Lincoln Parish Park

6. Enjoy a meal on the Sundown patio

7. Go see a Ruston Community Theatre show at The Dixie

8. Load up on freebies at the Ruston Visitors Center 

9. Attend the Annual John Simoneaux Memorial Jam in the spring

10. Eat crawfish at Ponchatoulas 

Crawfish from Ponchatoulas in Downtown Ruston

11. Go to the Louisiana Peach Festival

12. Spend an afternoon shopping in Downtown Ruston

13. Eat lunch at Rosemary's Kitchen

14. Watch the Temple Baptist Church 4th of July Fireworks

Go to a concert at the Revelry of Ruston

Travis Tritt live in concert at The Revelry of Ruston

16. Have a date night at RAW

17. Take part in Loyal Blue Weekend

Play a game of Frisbee Golf in Hideaway Park 

19. Try the coffee & beignets at Parish Press

Go to the Ruston Makers Fair

Local vendors screen printing t-shirts at the Ruston Makers Fair

21. Eat a
 Scatterload Sandwich at Brister's Smokehouse 

22. Shop the Ruston Farmers Market

Watch a parade go through Ruston

Go to Little Pizzoli's for "Meatball Monday”

25. Attend a Ruston Fashion Week event

Fashion show put on by The Fashion during Ruston Fashion Week

27. Eat
 Sunday Brunch at Beau Vines

Attend a NCLAC event 

29. Enjoy Eskamoes' frozen custard by the fire pit in North Village Plaza

30. Participate in a holiday event/activity

See a RCT Christmas play at The Dixie 

While we made this list with students in mind, we also challenge visitors and locals to experience these 30 things that Ruston has to offer! Be sure to document and share your experiences in Ruston using the hashtag #RustonLA. Did we leave something off the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Independent Films in Ruston

By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

September seems to be the month of films in Ruston, La. There are three different film events taking place in Ruston over the next few weeks, including an indie film series, a touring film festival, and a showing of several short films by a local filmmaker. Read more about each of these incredible film events below. 

Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers
September 15: Agents of Change
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7pm | Dixie Center for the Arts

Agents of Change will be the first film to kick off NCLAC's Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers in Ruston, La. We're beyond excited that NCLAC was chosen as 1 of 21 screening partners for the 2016-2017 Southern Circuit Tour, a tour of independent films and filmmakers in which filmmakers participate in community screenings and audience engagement activities. 

NCLAC will present six of the Southern Circuit films over eight months at the Dixie Center for the Arts. These selected films have been screened at major film festivals, winning awards and gaining national recognition. If you haven't caught on yet, let me be blunt: THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Ruston has never seen an event like this, so you absolutely will not want to miss this series of films. 

Not only do viewers have the opportunity to see these films on screen at the historic Dixie Theatre, but they will also have the chance to participate in a Q&A with the filmmakers after the screening. Find more information and a link to purchase tickets here

September 22 
6-8pm | Louisiana Tech Planetarium 

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Louisiana Delta Adventures is bringing the World Tour of the Reel Paddling Film Festival to Ruston, La.! The Reel Paddling Film Festival is an international adventure film tour presenting the world’s best paddling films of the year. There are 21 inspiring paddling films shortlisted for the World Tour, including the ten festival category winners. 

Audiences will see gripping whitewater action, sea kayakers exploring remote coastlines, northern river canoe expeditions, international river travel films, motivating environmental documentaries, intense kayak fishing battles, and hilarious short films capturing the lighter side of paddling life.

This is a free event, although seating is limited to the first 100 attendees. Each participant will be able to vote for their "People's-Choice Favorite" and will receive a free subscription to a paddling magazine. In addition, a kayak will be given away to one lucky winner. This showing is only one of two tours held in the the South so far this year, so be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity! Find more info here.

September 24
7:30-9:30pm | Celebrity Theatres in Ruston 

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A Night of Shorts provides another unique opportunity to view four short films created by Matthew Ramsaur, local filmmaker/videographer of Ramsaur Films. These four shorts have a Christian theme, but please be aware that most of these films are not suitable for children under the age of 13. This event will be held at Celebrity Theatres in Ruston and is free to the public. 

The four films being shown are In Between, Shadows Aglow, Freedom, and Divert. In Between was recently screened at the Great Lakes Christian Film Festival in Buffalo, New York and was nominated for four awards, winning Best Short Film and Best Director. Following the films, there will be a Q&A session with cast and crew of each film. Don't miss this great opportunity to support an incredibly talented local filmmaker. Find more info here.

We hope you get a chance to experience this diverse and unique series of film events taking place in Ruston, La. this fall! Please comment below if you have any questions regarding these events. For more event listings visit  

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Tech Gameday for Dummies 2016

Written By Travis Napper, CVB President/CEO 

The kids are back in school and everyone is starting to put their summer vacations in their rear-view mirror, which can only mean one thing: it's football season in Ruston, as well as across the South. To get everyone prepped for the first Louisiana Tech Football game of the year coming up on Sept. 10, I thought this Game Day guide might be helpful to all Bulldog fans new and old!


Loyal Blue Weekends
This year, we're welcoming a new LA Tech Football tradition, Loyal Blue Weekends. The pre-game festivities will kick off Friday night in Downtown Ruston with kids' activities, spirit groups, live music, and more fun! Read more about Loyal Blue Weekends here.

What to Wear
Show some spirit! You are there to support your team, so dress for the occasion. Check to see if it is the “Red Out” Game (hint: it is 10/1). If not, you should be wearing BLUE! Homecoming might be a good time to dress a little nicer, but it’s not necessary. Also, don’t forget to check the weather. Umbrellas aren’t allowed in the stadium, so rain boots and a poncho are your best bet for rainy games.

As the crowds continue to grow, the need for parking grows too. Refer to the map below to see all of the available parking options. Take note: it is only a 10 minute walk from behind the bookstore to the stadium. A new option this year is the Tech Trolley! Park your vehicle in Downtown Ruston and catch the trolley at Railroad Park, which will transport you to the Joe Aillet Stadium free of charge. The Tech Trolley will run continuously 2 hours prior to kickoff and 1 hour after the game. 

Football Parking Map

There are a number of ways to take part in the tailgating experience. The Argent Pavilion is host to the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association Tailgate for LTAC and Alumni Association members with the opportunity to join on site. They usually have a great offering of food and drinks, and it’s a prime spot to catch up with former classmates. There is also plenty of group and corporate tailgating that takes place along Tailgate Alley adjacent to the Argent Pavilion. Most tailgaters will welcome any friendly fan. Setting up your own tailgate is another option and is allowed in all four parking lots (A, B, C, D) around Joe Aillet Stadium, the grass areas surrounding Joe Aillet Stadium, and the Thomas Assembly Center (including Garland Gregory Hideaway Park). RV spaces are available for guests attending football games. Contact the LTAC and Alumni Association office (318-255-7950) for more information.

There are plenty of pre-game activities to match any interest. Bulldog Village (opens 3 hours prior to kickoff), located at the bottom of the Thomas Assembly Center steps, has live music, the Ruston Brick Kids Zone, face-painting with Tech spirit groups,  photo stations,  interaction with LA Tech student-athletes, Barnes and Noble Bookstore  and more.  There is also a tailgating cook-off judged by student-athletes. The “Walk of Pride” (2 hours prior to kickoff) has become a Tech tradition. The band plays in front of the Argent Pavilion and then leads the Bulldog football team through the crowd of cheering fans on their way to the locker room.  All fans are encouraged to head to the stadium 30 minutes prior to kickoff to not miss any of the pre-game entertainment.

The Game               

Joe Aillet Stadium has been home to Louisiana Tech football for the past 45-plus years. Since opening in 1968 at a capacity of 23,000, it has seen many changes and updates. The most recent update being the addition of the Davison Athletics Complex, bringing the stadium capacity to 28,019. Check out our feature on the Davison Athletics Complex here. New turf, called FieldTurf Mono, has recently been installed. It offers some of the most vibrant colors and great cushion and safety for the players.  As you walk around the outside of the stadium, make sure you notice the stadium banners honoring Terry Bradshaw, Willie Roaf, Fred Dean, Joe Aillet and Maxie Lambright, some of Tech Football’s most successful  alumni. For a stadium seating chart click here.

Joe Aillet Stadium seating chart (click to enlarge)

Concessions are located in six convenient areas on both the east and west sides of the stadium, with many new vendors added including Wing Stop, a candy stand, taco truck, iced tea stand, java drinks, smoothies and more. Alcoholic beverages are only allowed within the Club Level of the Davison Athletics Complex. 

Video Board
The addition of the video board in the North End zone has brought a new definition to the full game experience.  Sometimes referred to as DawgZilla, the Origin Bank video board now provides the fans with instant replay and great intro videos, as well as some pretty neat fan interactions.

Post Game

Where to Stay
Any of Ruston’s area hotels are the logical choice, of course. All are located within 8 minutes of the stadium. However, as with most college towns, hotels near campus tend to be very busy and often full on the weekends of home games. The good news is there are some great alternatives that are very convenient: TDR Home Rental propertiesThe Cottage as well as the RV and camping sites at the beautiful Lincoln Parish Park.  And of course, you could always try to bum a stay from family or friends!

Where to eat/drink
While you have plenty of tasty options for tailgate foods on game day, if you are anything like me you will want to make it a full weekend of food and football.  After the game, you might be ready for another snack and a few beverages while catching the late west coast games on TV.  For this, I would recommend Dawg House Sports Grill.  After you sleep in a little and before you get sucked into the noon Saints game, I suggest trying out the Sunday Brunch at Beau Vines Steakhouse. These two are just a few of the many great culinary options in Ruston, so visit our website and blog for more restaurant profiles.

A Few Things to Remember

  • Beat the crowd. Arrive 3-5 hours before kickoff to avoid traffic, have more access to parking and have first pick on certain tailgating spots.  And remember, if you don’t want to miss any of the official pre-game entertainment, make sure you are in the stadium 30 minutes prior to kickoff!
  • Clean up before kickoff. Bring your own trash bags and water down hot coals before heading to the stadium. Please respect LA Tech and its campus.
  • First aid is available for fans at Joe Aillet Stadium. West Concourse (Press Box side): The First Aid Station is located at the base of the elevator shaft. East Concourse: An ambulance or First Aid tent will be located next to the Police Mobile Command Center outside the gates. Contact an usher if you have an emergency. North side: An ambulance will be parked next to the videoboard on the North side of the stadium.
  • Don’t drink and drive — give up the keys. If alcoholic drinks get the best of you, make sure someone sober takes the wheel. 
One last thing!  Do you have your tickets yet?

Travis Napper is from Monroe, La., but has called Ruston home for 13 years. He is a LA Tech alum and devoted Bulldog fan. Travis is a proud husband to Brittany and father of two children, Emory and Stover. In his spare time he enjoys cheering on the bulldogs and enjoying local events. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Loyal Blue Weekends: A New Gameday Tradition

Written by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

There are few things we like more than Louisiana Tech Football season here in Ruston. It’s a special and fun time when students, alumni, and locals all come together to socialize, eat great food and, most importantly, cheer on the Bulldogs. Different players and coaches have come and gone, but one thing always remains the same: Louisiana Tech fans’ loyalty.

As the 2016 football season rolls around, Tech fans will have the chance to embrace a new and exciting LA Tech football tradition: Loyal Blue Weekends. The City of Ruston has partnered with the Ruston Lincoln CVB and the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association to bring fans a whole new home-game experience that you absolutely won’t want to miss. 

Loyal Blue Weekends will take place every home-game weekend and will feature family activities, spirit groups, live music, and more football fun. 

Loyal Blue Weekends will kick off on Friday night in Downtown Ruston, where all football fans are invited to come Rock the Railroad. Starting at 5:30pm in Railroad Park, there will be kids’ activities, including inflatables and face painting. At 6pm Champ and the LA Tech spirit groups will get the crowd pumped up with some fun and interactive performances. Families will definitely want to take full advantage of these fun activities!

After you get your dose of school spirit from Champ and the crew, stick around for some great live music from 6:30-8:30pm. There will be a different band playing every Loyal Blue Weekend, so you definitely won’t want to miss any of the Rock the Railroad events! This is also a great time to visit local shops and grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants in Downtown Ruston.

Railroad Park in Downtown Ruston
Photo by Adam Mulins

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Everyone is invited to come watch a movie in the Quad on LA Tech’s campus after the band wraps up at 8:30pm. Oh, and if we haven’t mentioned it already, all of these activities and events are totally free!

The festivities continue on Saturday, as fans are encouraged to shop and eat in downtown before the game. Avoid game day traffic and stadium parking by leaving your vehicle downtown and catching the Tech Trolley at Railroad Park, which transports fans to the stadium free of charge. The trolley will run continuously 2 hours prior to kickoff, giving fans plenty of time to tailgate, and 1 hour after the game. Still need tickets? Purchase them here.

As you can see, game-day weekends are being taken to a whole new level here in Ruston, La., and we hope you’ll join us for all the fun! There’s definitely no better way to gear up for LA Tech football games than by coming together to enjoy family activities, live music, and some serious school spirit. We’ll see y’all in Railroad Park, Go Dogs!

Rock the Railroad Dates: Sept. 9, 30, Oct. 28, Nov. 11
LA Tech Football Home Games: Sept. 10, Oct. 1, 6, 29, Nov. 12*
*Homecoming Game

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gameday Recipes

Written by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant 

The 2016 Louisiana Tech Football season is right around the corner, which means it won't be long before fans are flocking to Ruston to set up their tailgates and cheer on the Bulldogs. Everyone knows that great friends, food, and drinks are key to a successful tailgate. While we can't provide the friends, we can give you some easy and delicious game day recipes to make sure your tailgate goes off without a hitch. 

We have a recipe for Cream Cheese Sausage Balls, which are great for an early day game, as well as a recipe for Mini Muffulettas, which are a perfect afternoon snack. For those hot Louisiana game days, we have a recipe for a refreshing Blueberry Lemonade (which also brings some school spirit to the table). Find these tasty tailgating recipes below!

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

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1 lb. spicy sausage, uncooked
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups Bisquick
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400F. 
Mix all ingredients until well combined. Roll into 1-inch balls. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brown.

Mini Muffulettas
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8 small buns
15 oz olive salad
8 thin slices deli ham
8 thin slices hard salami
8 thin slices provolone cheese

Heat the oven to 350F.
Lay out the bottoms and tops of the buns. Spread an equal amount of olive salad onto each half. Add ham, salami and provolone cheese to the bottom half of each bun. Wrap each sandwich in foil. Add the sandwiches to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until warmed and the cheese has melted. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings. 

Blueberry Lemonade
Photo via: sprinklesomesugar

Blueberry Syrup 
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar

10 large lemons (2 cups of juice) 
6 cups water

Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 cup water 


  1. In a medium-size saucepan on medium-low heat, stir blueberries and sugar together and allow the berries to cook down and start releasing their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently. 
  2. Once blueberries have released a good bit of juice, mash them down and cook for another 5 minutes. Mash one last time and then strain blueberry syrup into a large measuring cup and set aside to cool down completely. This syrup can be made in advance and refrigerated if needed. 
  3. Squeeze all of your lemons into a large measuring cup or bowl. You should wind up with about 2 cups of lemon juice. Straining your lemon juice if desired. Pour lemon juice and water into a large pitcher along with blueberry syrup and stir. 
  4. In a small saucepan, whisk sugar and water together until all sugar is dissolved. Gradually add the simple syrup to your blueberry lemonade until it is sweetened to your liking. 1/2-3/4 cup is typical. Serve over ice with additional blueberries for garnish. 
For a grown-up version of this Blueberry Lemonade, add 1 1/2 cups of vodka. 

Happy tailgating and Go Dogs!

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.