One facet of Louisiana that makes it such an appealing visitor destination is its deep and colorful history. European explorers found their way to the region and inhabited the area very early relative to settlement of much of the rest of the continent. As a result, some communities in Louisiana are among the oldest in the United States. Before those explorers arrived, of course, people we now know as Native Americans populated the region. Reaching still farther back in time, ancient peoples left their mark on the area thousands of years ago. The state of Louisiana offers many ways to explore the region’s rich history, in hundreds of museums, historic structures, landmarks, artifacts and works of art. The careful preservation and restoration of these sites and artifacts has created many rare opportunities for visitors to experience Louisiana’s history and gain insights into the diverse cultures that continue to influence the state today.
Peach orchards surrounding Ruston come into fragrant bloom in early spring but, the crop so closely associated with the city takes a starring role, throughout the year, in everything from farm-fresh ice cream to the Louisiana Peach Festival, the area's biggest event. Louisiana Tech University and nearby Grambling State University are integral parts of the community, with college sports, art galleries and year-round programming for locals and visitors. Louisiana Tech's Idea Place is an interactive children's museum and Grambling recently added an exhibit honoring the late college football icon Eddie Robinson, who coached the school's team for 57 years. Ruston's historic district provides 18 blocks of evidence for the potential of a rejuvenated downtown. A vintage movie theater has been transformed as the 600-seat Dixie Center for the Arts, while in Ruston's Memorial Park, the Louisiana Military Museum has artifacts and displays from the Spanish American War through modern conflicts.