Ruston is a sprawling town with no real heart (or one that I found) about a 40 minute drive from Monroe in Northern Louisiana. The people were friendly and welcoming and there is a thriving university there.
However, a mere 20 minute drive out of Ruston you find a real country community feel. The neighbours still take food round for one another, people leave their keys in their trucks and houses unlocked.
I found people were willing to trust me (handy when I had a problem with a lost credit card) and I met some of the loveliest most welcoming people. I eat the best gumbo here.