Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Dixie: Home of the Arts in Ruston

Written By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant 

The Dixie is a central hub for the arts in North Louisiana. Serving the community for nearly 90 years, the Dixie Center for the Arts has become a Ruston landmark. You can’t pass through Downtown Ruston without noticing its brightly lit marquee adorned with the famous flashing star on top.

This historic theater was built in 1928 and was originally named the Astor Theater. At that time, the theater played silent films and held various concert performances. In 1932, the theater experienced a name change, as well as the addition of the gorgeous chandelier inside the theater.
inside the Dixie Theatre

It was given its current name, the Dixie, after a sale to the Dixie Theater Corporation of New Orleans in the 1950s. After closing for a brief period, the renovated Dixie opened again in 1956 with two big improvements: air conditioning and the famous flashing marquee.

What most people don’t know is that in its history, the theater was sold five times and survived a devastating fire in 1933. Although it has seen several changes, the legacy of the Dixie continues in Ruston.

artwork displayed in the lobby at The Dixie

Since the Dixie Center for the Arts held their first meeting in 1996, the theater has experienced a great deal of restoration and growth. In the past 10 years, full seasons of events, parties and concerts have reinstated the Dixie as the Home of the Arts in North Central Louisiana.
At any given time of the year you can visit the Dixie and catch a play or musical performed by the Ruston Community Theatre, various musical performances from all across the country, comedians, local recitals, and other exciting displays of performance art. The Dixie also supports visual arts by displaying artwork by local artists in the lobby. 
"The Foreigner" performed by RCT at the Dixie.
photo via

The Dixie doesn't stop its community involvement there. The five non-profits housed in the Dixie Center for the Arts host the Krewe of Allegro Mardi Ball every year as a fundraiser to maintain the historic Dixie Theatre building. This is one of Ruston's most anticipated events of the year, and the Dixie staff and volunteers work incredibly hard to make it a success. 

This Dixie Theatre is also available for rent by organizations or individuals. This rustic theater is the perfect place to host any type of performance, concert or party. Additionally, you can rent the brightly lit marquee outside the Dixie Theatre if you need to share a special message (the marquee has been part of a marriage proposal or two). 
The Dixie has truly contributed so much to the arts in North Louisiana and the Ruston community, and we couldn't imagine our town without its presence. Next time you're in the area, stop by the Dixie to see the historic theater and check out their calendar for some great performances. 

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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tori’s Travels: Guys’ Night Out in Ruston

Written By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

Derek Amaya, my guide to guys' night out in Ruston
Well ladies and gents, it’s been a minute since I’ve brought y’all any details about my travels in Ruston, La. I’ve been here for six months now and while I’ve experienced a lot of fun things in Ruston, it came to my attention that I’ve only really seen and written about Ruston from a girls point of view.

After realizing that my blogs were mostly focused on shopping and food, 
I decided I needed to see Ruston from a guy’s perspective. It was time to bro up. Man up? Guy up? Who knows.

I knew from the start who I wanted my guide to be for a guys’ night out in Ruston; enter Derek Amaya. Formally, Derek is a Louisiana Tech graduate and reporter for the Ruston Daily Leader. Informally, Derek is my basketball buddy and one of the most fun people you’ll ever meet. I asked Derek to come up with a full-force bro night out in Ruston, and this is what he planned:

Fresh Cuts 
To start our evening, we met at Rumo’s Barber Shop to get all spiffed up for our night out on the town. Derek claims that this is the most relaxing place on earth, and I totally see his point. I mean, what’s more relaxing than sitting back while someone shampoos your hair for you, cuts it, styles it, and then follows it all up with a fresh shave? I can’t think of anything. (Okay, I might have skipped the shave.)

What’s great about Rumo’s is that they have that classic, old barbershop feel while also embracing a fun and upbeat atmosphere, which is largely due to their awesome barbers (shout out to T.R. and Leslie). Whether you need a quick trim, straight-razor shave, eyebrow wax or women’s cut, Rumo’s has you covered. 

Derek getting his haircut by T.R.
Rumo's Barber Shop 

T.R., Derek, Tori and Leslie post-haircuts
Rumo's Barber Shop 

After our fresh, new haircuts, we needed a big, manly meal to carry us through our guys’ night out. We hit up Dawg House Sports Grill, a local spot that's well known for having some of the best burgers in North Louisiana, and what’s manlier than a big, juicy cheeseburger? 

We ordered a pretty killer spread of food, including Frodo's Patty Melt, the grilled chicken sandwich, cheese fries, quesadillas and crawfish étouffée. Dawg House has a great selection of beers on tap, so we decided to grab one (or two) while waiting on our food. As you probably noticed, Dawg House has a wide selection of food, and it was all delicious until the last bite. With full and happy bellies, we headed to our next destination. 

Frodo's Patty Melt
Dawg House Sports Grill 
Grilled chicken sandwich & cheese fries
Dawg House Sports Grill

Game Time
Derek, Tori and Champ the Bulldog at an LA Tech Basketball game
Thomas Assembly Center 
As I mentioned, Derek and I are basketball buddies. We both get WAY too involved with LA Tech Basketball games; I mean, if you didn’t scream at the ref did you really go to the game? 

In my personal opinion, LA Tech Basketball games are a different level of fun. Between the constant action of the game and Derek yelling witty insults at the opposing team’s coach, there isn’t a dull moment. Not to mention, our team is pretty good at what they do. Although this was some good bro bonding time, you definitely don’t have to be a guy to enjoy these games! 

Drinks & Chill 
Cheers to Guys' Night Out in Ruston
Sundown Tavern patio 
Whether you’re celebrating a victory or commiserating a defeat, a post-game drink at Sundown Tavern is a must. We arrived just before the live music kicked off inside, so we decided to take our drinks on the patio. 

We posted up next to a warm space heater (even men get chilly) and enjoyed the atmosphere of Sundown’s eclectic patio. We had some quality bro talk and watched the ongoing Pelicans game on Derek’s phone (apparently sports are a never-ending thing for guys).

All in all, I would say we had a very successful guys’ night out. If you’re a dude, definitely experience this bro night for yourself. As for the girls, sometimes going and doing “guy things” can actually be a pretty good time. Did Derek and I miss something fun? Tell us your favorite things to do during a guys’ night out in Ruston!

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.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Laissez les bon temps rouler, Ruston!

The Krewe of Allegro Mardi Gras Ball is Ruston’s premier Mardi Gras event, making it the social event of the season.  This year, attendees will be dancing the night away on January 30 at the Ruston Civic Center from 7 p.m. until midnight.

The ball is hosted by the five non-profits housed in the Dixie Center for the Arts in Downtown Ruston. This event proves to be one of The Dixie’s biggest fundraisers with all proceeds going to maintain the historic theatre and support the nonprofit organizations housed there.

You might be asking yourself, “What does a Mardi Gras Ball in Ruston look like?” Here’s a brief glimpse at what this fun and dazzling evening has in store.

The Ruston Civic Center is completely transformed into an elegant ballroom adorned with purple, green and gold. Upon walking in, it’s hard to miss all the sharp suits and stunning dresses worn by smiling attendees.  Additionally, guests have their tables decorated elaborately in a glittering array of colors that make the whole scene magical.
Photos from
Photos from

With each year comes a slightly different and fun flair to the Krewe of Allegro Mardi Gras Ball. This year’s theme is “Old Hollywood,” and everyone is invited to dress the part. Think Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Fred Astaire.

Live on Clarke Gable’s Hollywood Grand Stage will be the Krackerjacks – “the party band of the South” from Greenville, Ms.

Mrs. Linda Peevy will be catering the event again, and we’re all looking forward to what she has planned. Last year people raved over her dishes and decorative displays.

Local photographer Kevin Hawkins will also be on site to document this special evening. This year, your photos will be emailed directly to you.

Photos from
Additionally, NCLAC has put together a silent auction with items from local artist and merchants. Guests will have the opportunity to bid on art, décor, treats and much more. There will also be raffle baskets filled with beer, wine and spirits that guests will have the chance to win.

Now let us introduce to you this year’s royalty.
Tracy and Jennifer Calloway, Duke and Duchess of Ruston Community Theatre
David and Nancy Darland, Duke and Duchess of the Dixie Center for the Arts
Craig and Laura Miller, Duke and Duchess of NCLAC
Charles and Sandra Hart, 2016 Krewe of Allegro King and Queen

Lord and Lady tickets (for guests 35 years and under) are $50 each. Baron and Baroness tickets (for guets 36 years and older) are $65 each. The entry ticket will include 2 drink tokens and there will also be a cash bar. Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold at the door.

You absolutely do not want to miss this entertaining night of dining, dancing and socializing in Downtown Ruston. Call Libby at the Dixie to reserve your spot now, (318) 255-1450.

Amanda Quimby is a native of Franklin Parish, a University of Louisiana at Monroe alumna and now a proud Ruston resident. As the marketing director for the CVB, she has a love for travel and tourism, and the coolest job ever. Amanda’s favorite things: coffee, wine and swing jazz. When she’s not working, ...just kidding. She’s always working. Follow her on Instagam and Twitter.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Taste of Mardi Gras in Ruston

Written By Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant 

photo via Instagram @socialbitesofruston
Mardi Gras season, built on long-standing traditions, is a time of continuous celebration. No Mardi Gras season in Louisiana would be complete without parades, lavish balls, and, of course, authentic Louisiana cuisine and drinks. 

While Ruston may not be the center of Mardi Gras celebrations here in Louisiana, we still know how to bring Mardi Gras traditions and flair to the area! Below are some local places in Ruston where you can find all the Mardi Gras favorites. 

  • King cakes and more at Social Bites 
    Social Bites offers delicious homemade king cakes, as well as other deserts that put a twist on the traditional king cake. Try their King Cake Bars and King Cake Cupcakes for a different take on this classic Mardi Gras dessert. Order ahead by calling Social Bites at 318-251-2483. 
    King Cake Bars from Social Bites 

  • King cakes at Rosemary's Kitchen
    Rosemary's Kitchen makes king cakes from scratch and has a great variety of flavors available. Try the traditional cream cheese, praline cream cheese, praline, strawberry, strawberry cream cheese, blueberry cream cheese, blueberry or cinnamon sugar. Additionally, this year they are offering a decadent King Cake Cheese Cake. Call in your orders today at 318-202-5951.

    Handmade king cake from Rosemary's Kitchen

  • King cakes at Ponchatoulas
    Cream cheese Sucré King Cakes and Joe Gambino's King Cakes, both of which come straight from New Orleans, are available at Ponchatoulas Restaurant during the Mardi Gras season. King cakes can be purchased during normal business hours. 
    Sucré King Cakes available at Ponchatoulas

  • King cakes at Log Cabin GrillLog Cabin carries Gambino's King Cakes in several flavors including traditional, cream cheese, strawberry cream cheese, blueberry cream cheese, praline, and strawberry. They also have cream cheese Sucré King Cakes available. King cakes may be purchased in the market of Log Cabin during normal business hours.
    Decorate your Gambino's King Cake available at Log Cabin 

  • King Cake Latte at Parish PressIf you're a coffee fan and love the flavor of king cake, then the King Cake Latte at Parish Press will be right up your alley! This delicious, warm drink can serve as your morning cup of coffee or as an afternoon dessert. Don't miss it this Mardi Gras season!
    King Cake Latte served at Parish Press

  • Abita Mardi Gras beverages at PonchatoulasPonchatoulas carries Abita King Cake Soda (nonalcoholic) as well Abita Mardi Gras Bock for those who want to get a sip of Mardi Gras. 
Abita King Cake Soda
photo via Instagram @abitabeer

  • Crawfish at Scott's Catfish The start of Mardi Gras season also means the start of crawfish season this year in Louisiana. Boiled crawfish are back and here to stay at Scott's Catfish in Ruston! Call for pricing 318-232-7500.

Boiled crawfish now available at Scott's Catfish

  • Red beans and rice at Portico 
    While they only serve it as a Monday lunch special, you do not want to miss the red beans and rice at Portico in Ruston. Not only will this dish warm you up, but it's a classic recipe for Mardi Gras season!

    Red Beans and Rice at Portico 

  • Seafood Gumbo at PonchatoulasMardi Gras often falls during the coldest part of winter in Louisiana, which makes hot gumbo a staple during the Carnival season. Ponchatoulas has some of the best seafood gumbo in North Louisiana, so make sure you get yourself a bowl to celebrate Mardi Gras. 
Seafood Gumbo from Ponchatoulas

We hope you try some of these local spots to get your fix of Mardi Gras foods and drinks! Let us know how you celebrate Mardi Gras in Ruston, La.!

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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Getting Healthy in Ruston, LA

Written by Tori Ward, Marketing/PR Assistant

The start of the new year often brings a long list of resolutions for most. Get organized, volunteer more, pay off debt, travel more, learn a new language....the list can get endless. One of the most common resolutions out there is to be healthier, whether that entails eating better, exercising more or both.

With so many incredible restaurants here in Ruston, we totally understand how tempting it can be to lose sight of your resolution to eat healthier. So if you're serious about keeping this resolution, here are just a few local spots that might make sticking to your health goals a little easier.

Gibson's Natural Grocer
Gibson's Natural Grocer
Photo via 
This small grocery is a perfect spot to find all the essentials to healthy eating and living. With an incredible selection of fresh produce, as well as aisles upon aisles of dry goods, Gibson's is a great place to visit to stock up on healthy foods. And if you're a snack lover, they've got your covered. You can pick from dozens of healthy snacks and drinks that are perfect when you're on the go. 

Additionally, Gibson's offers supplements to help maintain your body's overall health. And did we mention that their staff is super friendly, knowledgeable and helpful? Definitely seek out the help of Gibson's employees if you have questions!

Gibson's also goes above and beyond to bring health information and advice to the community. They've hosted a documentary showing, a juicing demonstration and other various workshops with professional speakers. Check out their website to see upcoming events, and make sure you give them a visit when you're in the area. 

Produce at Gibson's Natural Grocer
Photo via
Supplements available at Gibson's Natural Grocer
Photo via

Better Living Market
Better Living Market
Photo via
Better Living Market opened in Ruston just a few months ago and has already made a great impact on the local community. With a focus on all-around healthy living, this market is a wonderful place to visit for fresh produce, local meat, dry and refrigerated goods, and so many more items to get you on track to a healthier life. 

Aside from carrying produce and healthy food items, they also have a wide selection of supplements, essential oils, medicinal teas, and books to help you maintain overall health. Better Living also supports other local businesses by carrying locally-made honey, soaps and candles. 

Need some advice on starting your journey to health? Better Living has an in-house nutritionist who is in the market multiple times a week and is more than happy to answer your questions and give you advice. Next time you're in the area, stop by and let this incredible staff suggest some healthy options that are right for you!

Supplements and more available at Better Living Market
Photo via

Local meat that can be found at Better Living Market
Photo via

Fresh grilled shrimp salad at Rosemary's Kitchen
Photo via
Rosemary’s Kitchen is not your typical eatery. Along with a menu that changes weekly, they have a grocery area in the front of the restaurant that carries organic and local items, as well as an organic juice bar. While Rosemary's typically offers a mix of hearty and lighter dishes, the kitchen focuses on fresh and healthy meals. Some recurring favorites are the stuffed bell peppers, various grilled paninis, and their homemade soups.

Rosemary’s Kitchen prides itself on the use of fresh ingredients, and you can tell just by looking at the food how incredibly fresh all of the ingredients are. Not to mention they use local milk, meat and other products when possible. Find this week’s simply fresh menu here.

As we mentioned before, Rosemary’s Kitchen has a great little grocery located inside the restaurant that has tons of local goodies as well as a cooler stocked with homemade items, to-go meals and more. They also carry various organic brands and items in their grocery. So if you're looking for a fresh and delicious lunch, a healthy meal to-go or a light snack, visit Rosemary's Kitchen on Bonner Street!

Grocery inside Rosemary's Kitchen
Grocery items inside Rosemary's Kitchen
Photo via

We hope you find these suggestions helpful as you stick to your health goals in 2016! If you have any questions about these healthy hot spots or any other local places in Ruston, comment and let us know! 

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.