By T. Scott Boatright
One of Ruston’s newest businesses — USA Travel Plaza on La. Hwy. 33, just off the Interstate 20 westbound exit, held a ribbon-cutting on Friday to celebrate its grand opening, complete with the initial raising of the giant grand on flag flying 100 feet overhead.
The new venture, which is open 24 hours a day, features the Cajun Grill, which offers homelike cooking and a Happy Hour from 4 – 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, a giant convenience store and discount liquor store selling beer and wine, and restrooms along with showers and laundry for truckers traveling along I-20 who might need a quick break for refueling and more.
Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker thanked USA Travel Plaza Laddie Aulakh during Friday’s ceremony.
“You’ve done a great job and we appreciate this investment and other investments that you’re going to make in our city and I if I can ever help, you have my number,” Walker told Aulakh.
Then came time for Aulahk, who also owns the USA truck stop in Calhoun as well as Calhoun Grocers, to speak.
“I want to thank everyone,” he said. “This has been about a 10-year project in my head. I met Ronny Walker three years ago and he asked me to think about putting a travel plaza in Ruston. So we thought about it and found a spot. That was three years ago. And now we’re here. It took a long time — three years, but we’re there. I appreciated everybody and want to thank all my friends, family, my employees and managers, and I’d like to thank the mayor. Without him, this wouldn’t have been possible. He helped us a lot.”
Aulakh then had Walker join local Boy Scouts in raising the giant America flag that will fly over the travel plaza.
“This means a lot to me … I’ve invested a lot of money in this flag,” Aulakh said. “I want to prove my point about a lot of things. I think this will be a great thing for Ruston. And I want to thank my wife. She’s been a lot of help and a big part of all this for the last 24 years.”