Ruby Robison (1845-1933). Young prostitute on Fannin Street; has daughter, Pearl, with Confederate soldier Levi Motts. After learning that Levi is killed at the Battle of Mansfield in April, 1864, Ruby marries his cousin Coleman Broussard and has four other children.
Ruby came to Shreveport during the Civil War, perhaps with Union troops up the Red River from New Orleans following the occupation of that city. Born in Ireland in 1845, her family may have been among the large numbers of Irish immigrants who sought refuge in America during the potato famines of the mid-nineteenth century. She most likely resorted to prostitution as a means of survival.
Ruby had a room in one of the dozens of brothels in downtown Shreveport area around Fannin Street, but her life took an unexpected turn when she met Levi Motts. Ruby and Levi began to have serious feelings for each other and Levi swore that he would find a way to get her out of the life she’d known as a prostitute. But the war got in the way, sending Levi off to fight and die in the Battle of Mansfield (see songs, “Fannin Street” and “Levi Motts is My Name“).
Ruby had let Levi know of her pregnancy and she gave birth to a daughter in 1865, whom she named Pearl. Levi’s cousin, Coleman Broussard chose to marry Ruby and they had four children together. Their first son, Lucas was the great-grandfather of Mike “Sarge” Broussard.
Ruby lived to the ripe old age of 88, living to see not only her daughter grow up, get married and have children of her own, but well into the lives of her great-grandchildren.