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From Azaleas to Zydeco

My 4,600-Mile Journey through the South

Mark W. Nichols

Publication Year: 2014

Inspired by a 1937 map and travelogue of a newspaperman’s tour, author Mark W. Nichols embarked on his own long journey into the unique cities of the South. En route he met beekeepers, cheese makers, crawfish “bawlers,” duck callers, and a licensed alligator hunter, as well as entrepreneurs and governors. His keen observations encompass the southern states from Virginia to Arkansas and points south, and he unpacks the unique qualities of every city he visits. “It’s easy to say that getting to meet so many interesting and wonderful people was the best part of the journey--because it’s true,” Nichols writes. “I know there are friendly people everywhere, but southern friendliness is different.” His story embraces a wealth of southern charm from local characters, folklore, and customs to food, music, and dancing. Besides being just plain fun to read, Nichols’s account of his journey gives readers a true taste of the flavor of the evolving modern South.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6

Table of Contents

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pp. 7-10

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 11-13

I have refrained from following the advice of Clay Travis about acknowledgments in his hilarious book about SEC football, Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference. He says to mention as many people as you can because it will aid in book sales. But I’m keeping my acknowledgments brief....

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Introduction

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pp. 14-21

A few years ago, I visited a coffee shop in a small midwestern town. The shop’s owner leased space to a local entrepreneur who sold used books. The books sat on crude wooden shelves in no particular order. On one shelf I saw an old frayed volume, its tan cover bordered in faded green. The spine...

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The Third Battle of Manassas

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pp. 22-26

Jonathan Daniels began his 4,600-mile Journey crossing the Potomac River from the District of Columbia into Virginia on what was then a new bridge. He stopped to talk with a retiree fishing off the bridge before going on to the Custis-Lee House at Arlington National Cemetery. He writes:...

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Polo Place

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pp. 27-32

It’s hard to know precisely when you leave NoVa. Uncut grass lots and buildings needing a paint job dot the sides of the highway. Handpainted signs nailed to trees advertise local tradesmen. There’s still a lot of traffic, but no longer urban. Things are beginning to look southern....

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Travel Notes: What’s a Cavalier?

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pp. 33-34

When the United States first became populated with white people, most of them came from Great Britain. Puritans went north to New England. The South, which at that time consisted only of Virginia, got Cavaliers. I’m not sure why these Englishmen migrated to different places, but it may have to do with the fact that they didn’t get along too well back in the motherland....

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RVa

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pp. 35-38

Some thirty years ago, a Virginia author named Garrett Epps wrote The Shad Treatment, a novel set in Richmond, the capital city of Virginia, introducing his reader to an aristocracy that ruled the city. The aristocracy dominated the rosters of two social clubs, the Country Club of Virginia and the Commonwealth Club. They owned weekend retreats on the...

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All Come to Look for America

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pp. 39-43

In 1780, the state of Virginia moved its capital from Williamsburg to Richmond. For the next century and a half, time passed Williamsburg by and it deteriorated. In February 1924, the rector of the local Williamsburg Episcopal Church attended a Phi Beta Kappa dinner in New York City. The rector met John D. Rockefeller Jr. there. The rector from that small southern...

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Travel Notes: What’s a Tar Heel?

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pp. 44-46

North Carolina has a strange nickname—the Tar Heel State. What, exactly, is a Tar Heel? Medical condition? Maybe, but probably not. Is it one word or two? Generally, two. More importantly, why do these people go by that name?...

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Dobbies and Pout Houses

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pp. 47-49

Warren County, North Carolina, sits near the Virginia border. Its county seat is Warrenton. Jonathan Daniels stopped here in 1937, supposedly to locate a poker game said to have been going on since the Civil War. Evidently, the city fathers played poker while letting progress pass them by. Downtown Warrenton consists mostly of a quaint little...

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The Research Triangle

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pp. 50-55

Unlike most southern state capitals, Raleigh doesn’t draw its economic vitality from an expanding state government. Raleigh’s vibrancy comes from a bold experiment started some fifty-five years ago—the Research Triangle. In the early 1950s, Raleigh was designated one of the vertices in a triangle of research to be formed with Durham...

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Sustainability in Greensboro

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pp. 56-62

Greensboro is the major city in the area that North Carolinians call the Triad, an area formed by the cities Winston-Salem, High Point, and Greensboro. (Remember, the name “triangle” was taken already.) The Triad has a population of 1.6 million people. The greenest hotel in America is located in Greensboro—but not because of the town’s name....

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Trains, Furniture, and Krispy Kreme

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pp. 63-66

High Point, North Carolina, is part of the Triad, a bedroom community for the other two Triad towns, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Most of the people I met from High Point commute into Greensboro to work. But High Point is more than an appendage of Greensboro and Winston-Salem: It’s the Home Furnishing Capital of the World....

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Towel Town No More

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pp. 67-70

In 1906, James W. Cannon built a mill on his 600-acre cotton plantation. He also built a village beside the mill for the workers. At first, the village was called Cannon City, but the name was soon changed to Kannapolis. Some say the name is Greek for “city of looms.” Others say that J. W. wasn’t that fancy. He didn’t know any Greek and most...

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Sister City

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pp. 71-74

When J. W. Cannon built his huge mill complex in Kannapolis, he lived just down the road in Concord, the county seat of Cabarrus County. While J. W. and his executives commuted to work in Kannapolis, the commuter road really only went one way. No one in Kannapolis worked in Concord. Kannapolians didn’t commute; they lived and worked at the...

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They Glue Lug Nuts on Wheels

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pp. 75-82

Recently Charlotte has had two things going for it—banking and NASCAR. Banking is relatively new. In 1980, only one North Carolina bank was included in the top twenty-five banking companies in the United States, and that bank wasn’t headquartered in Charlotte. Twentyfive years later, Charlotte was the headquarters for two of the country’s...

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Ella May’s Ghost

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pp. 83-88

Gastonia was the third former mill town on Jonathan Daniels’ Journey. Closer geographically to downtown Charlotte than Concord and Kannapolis, it’s been a part of the Charlotte metro area longer. That relationship hasn’t been so positive for Gastonia. Let’s put it this way, modern Gastonia could be a finalist in a contest for the Piedmont town...

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America’s First Civil War Battle

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pp. 89-93

I left the city behind. Besides the traffic, one of the problems of spending a few days in a metropolitan area is how quickly you lose connection with the land. Charlotte is part of the Piedmont, but traveling around in the center of the city, you lose appreciation of the area’s natural beauty. Once you leave the city’s tall buildings and concrete, the...

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Hub-Bub in the Hub City

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pp. 94-98

Spartanburg, South Carolina, is edgy. Not at all what I thought I would find here in upstate South Carolina. Spartanburg lies a few miles from the intersection of Interstate 85 and Interstate 26 some seventyfive miles west of Charlotte and thirty-five miles from the North Carolina state line. Some of Spartanburg’s edginess may come from directional...

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Downtown New South

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pp. 99-103

Greenville, South Carolina, is a surprisingly large southern town with a stated population of 71,000. Apparently South Carolina has stringent laws concerning annexation, so a lot of development has occurred outside of Greenville proper. Greenville’s population figures don’t really reflect its metropolitan area or character. The metro area is estimated to...

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Jerusalem Artichokes and Robert Kennedy

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pp. 104-107

The ambient temperature changes dramatically where the Carolina Piedmont gives way to the Appalachian Mountains. It is estimated that temperature changes three degrees for every thousand feet of elevation change. So Greenville, which sits at about a thousand feet above sea level, is much hotter and more humid than the mountain towns as close...

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The Mountains

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pp. 108-111

Munching fried peanuts as I left Lester’s place, I looked at the straight, flat highway ahead of me. A few miles from Lester’s place, a dramatic rock outcropping known as Caesar’s Head came into clear view. Apparently this rock feature looked to early travelers like Julius Caesar’s profile protruding from the mountain, thus the name. Caesar’s Head...

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Cashiers

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pp. 112-116

It’s not a mountaintop, but a valley. It’s not an incorporated town, but a community. It’s not pronounced “Cashears” but “Cashurs.” Despite its strange name, Cashiers—along with its neighbor town, Highlands— caters to the high end of the mountain tourist trade....

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Franklin

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pp. 117-120

The drive from Cashiers to Franklin is remarkable. It’s about ten miles from Cashiers to the next town, Highlands. During those ten miles, the altitude rises about 700 feet through a two-lane mountain road. From Highlands, it’s twenty miles, mostly downhill, to the town of Franklin, the county seat of Macon County, North Carolina. On this stretch,...

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The Smoky Mountains

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pp. 121-126

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is reputed to be within a day’s drive of sixty percent of the United States’ population. I don’t know if I believe this factoid: I guess the critical element would be how one defines a day’s drive. These people might be coming from St. Louis, Cleveland, and Washington DC, which I guess you can make in a day’s...

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Good Old Rocky Top

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pp. 127-133

To get from Gatlinburg to Knoxville, you pass Pigeon Forge, the home of Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood. Pigeon Forge’s tourist attractions seem to be on steroids, much larger and flashier than Gatlinburg’s, which seem downright old-fashioned in their trashiness. Forget about the quiet of High Hampton and the quaintness of Ron Haven’s Budget...

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Norris, the Planned Community

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pp. 134-138

Remember Lester Galloway, the friendly, unshaven seller of honey bee brittle and fried peanuts? From his name, I knew he was a probably a “cracker”—that particular strain of upland South white people who emigrated from the Celtic areas of Great Britain and populated the mountainous backwoods of early America....

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Hard-bitten Land

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pp. 139-145

Tennessee’s Copper Basin is only a few miles south of U.S. Highway 64. It’s not so much a basin as a broad valley lodged between a series of hills near the junction of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. The Copper Basin has two small towns, Ducktown—named after Chief Duck of the Cherokees—and Copperhill. It’s also home to one of the prettiest rivers...

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Chattanooga Rebound

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pp. 146-151

Itook Anita Ebersole’s advice about traveling from Ducktown to Chattanooga, even though it made no sense at the time. Anita sent me an e-mail saying:

Ducktown is approximately 70 miles from Chattanooga. Due to the beautiful scenery which you will want to slow down to admire, it will take you about an hour and a half to two hours....

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A Civil Misunderstanding

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pp. 152-154

Just up from the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, there are two bookstores: one bright and well lit, featuring new books by regional authors; the other dark, dusty, and severely over-crowded with shelves of old books and stuff overflowing onto the floor. The owner of the latter bookstore, a woman I later discovered was seventy-five years old, greeted...

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Alabama Retail

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pp. 155-160

Alabama is about thirty miles from Chattanooga. It’s not the nearest neighboring state to downtown Chattanooga—that would be Georgia. The route to Alabama takes you through northwest Georgia. Traveling through three states in thirty minutes is a record for the Journey....

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Alabama Wholesale

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pp. 161-167

Traveling across the top of Alabama, the first real city that appears is Huntsville. When Jonathan Daniels arrived during his Journey, Huntsville was a quiet little community that led the state in cotton production. Today it is well-populated: About 180,000 people live within the city limits and another 250,000 in the area....

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Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway

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pp. 168-171

If I were leaving Florence to catch a plane, I’d travel to Nashville the same way as Billy Reid does every couple of weeks. I’d start back the way I came: east on Alabama Highway 72, the famous Lee Highway, to Interstate 65, which I’d then take north to Nashville. It’s a distance of 150 miles and takes less than two and a half hours, if you’re lucky with...

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Nashville Hootenanny

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pp. 172-180

Loveless’ Café sits just outside the Natchez Trace Parkway terminus. People who went to school in Nashville swear by Loveless’. To be honest, it looked like one of those chain country restaurants with rocking chairs out front, the ones you see on interstate exits. I later discovered that it had expanded recently—opening a live music venue. Locals say that,...

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Mississippi Embayment

The rolling hills of middle Tennessee transition to flatland just east of Memphis. Welcome to the Delta. The Mississippi Embayment is the fancy name for the lower Mississippi Delta. According to University of Memphis professors Roy B. Van Arsdale and Randall Cox, this embayment formed about 95 million years ago when the earth’s crust warped upward from...

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Travel Notes: What’s a Julep?

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pp. 183-185

Negotiating the 200 miles from Nashville to Memphis can create a thirst, and in the capital of the most southern place in America, what better way is there to quench a road thirst than with a mint julep? I came to know the mint julep on the Journey. Jonathan Daniels mentioned that he drank juleps during his travels and took great care to note the regional...

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Day Trip to Arkansas

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pp. 186-194

Leaving downtown Memphis, you immediately climb skyward toward the expanse of steel and cable crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas. The bridge is high, the river wide. And every time I cross it, I think of the New Madrid fault, the seismic scar which runs from southern Illinois through southern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. From December...

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The Delta in Mississippi

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pp. 195-200

Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, is just a few miles from downtown Memphis. It’s reportedly the most visited house in the country, outside of the White House. The house is about 17,000 square feet, surprisingly modest compared to the mansions of modern music stars. It sits prominently on fourteen acres of land. Even those who aren’t fans of Elvis need...

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Cosmopolitan Helena

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pp. 201-207

In the 1930s, Jonathan Daniels had a hard time getting to Helena from Sherard. It must have taken most of a day because there were few paved roads and no bridge across the Mississippi, only two ferryboats. Today it’s a short thirty-minute drive to Helena crossing the river by way of the bridge at Lula, Mississippi. Beside the bridge is a...

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Duck Gumbo

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pp. 208-215

Just past Crowley’s Ridge, the discriminating traveler notices subtle changes. The land doesn’t change—it’s still flat and open—but now there’s no cotton. It looks like those pictures of Vietnam: rice paddies with humped irrigation ditches snaking throughout the fields. You’re in the Grand Prairie....

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Meeting the Governor

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pp. 216-220

Though it has a large landmass, Arkansas is a small state. With a population of less than three million people, its citizens tend to know (or know about) one another. Some people contend that Bill Clinton met more than half the entire state’s population before getting his promotion to Washington....

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Water, Water Everywhere

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pp. 221-226

Hot Springs, Arkansas, a small city of about 35,000 people, is about as far west as this Journey goes. Williamsburg and the Atlantic coast are over 1,000 miles away. Indian country, the Oklahoma border, is less than 100 miles away. We’re in the center of America now. The U.S. Census Bureau places America’s population center in southwestern Missouri, a few hundred miles to the north of Hot Springs....

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I’m Only 75

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pp. 227-229

Lake Chicot, the largest oxbow lake in North America, is located in the southeastern corner of Arkansas just before you get to the Greenville Bridge which crosses the Mississippi River. An oxbow lake forms when a river bend gets separated from the river. In this case, Lake Chicot used to be a big bend in the Mississippi River, but around 600 years ago, the...

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Nitta Yuma

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pp. 230-233

The Delta can be seen as a collection of small dying villages as America consolidates into metropolitan areas. If you look at maps from the 1930s, there were a lot of small towns in the Mississippi Delta. Most of them are gone now. In the Mississippi Delta, each new major northsouth road was built on higher ground farther from the river. Highway...

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A Coffee Shop in Vicksburg

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pp. 234-238

The sudden appearance of hills reinforced the impression that I was no longer in the Delta. I hadn’t seen a hill or even a hillock since I left Hot Springs. Arriving in Vicksburg, I’d left the Delta behind.
David Cohen, a twentieth-century writer from Greenville, Mississippi, has said the Delta starts at the steps of the Peabody Hotel and ends in Vicksburg. Vicksburg and Natchez, its neighbor to the south,...

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Mississippi Praying

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pp. 239-246

Like Little Rock, Jackson is a small, livable city of about 185,000 people. Jackson has sprawled to the north, and the metropolitan area is about two to three times that number. At the intersection of I-55 and I- 520, shiny new multi-story buildings house old-line law firms, banks, and other white-collar enterprises. Ten miles north in Canton, a Nissan plant...

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Wide Spot on Highway 28

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pp. 247-249

The modern route from Jackson to Natchez doesn’t go through Union Church, Mississippi, like it did in the 1930s. Interstate 55 passes thirty miles east and takes you twenty miles south of Union Church where it intersects with the new four-lane highway to Natchez. The old route, Mississippi State Highway 28, winds through the gently rolling hills and...

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Not a Soul in Sight

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p. 250-250

In Tidewater Virginia, I traveled the Colonial Parkway. I passed near the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple of times while traveling through the mountains of western North Carolina. I spent a great afternoon traveling from Florence, Alabama, to Nashville, Tennessee, on the Natchez Trace Parkway....

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The Rose Lady Comes to Camellia Land

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pp. 251-253

Founded in 1716, Natchez is older than Vicksburg, which wasn’t settled by Europeans for another ninety-five years. Natchez is prettier, largely due to its treatment during the Civil War. Residents from both cities claim that Natchez surrendered after one shot. It’s a point of pride in Natchez. Only one Natchez house was destroyed during the Yankee occupation because the locals tried to get along with the invaders. The...

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The Salon at Ravennaside

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pp. 254-257

Salon is a French word meaning “large room,” but it also means a gathering of people to meet, discuss ideas, or watch artistic performances. Ravennaside is a 10,000-square-foot Colonial Revival house built in Natchez in 1902 on three acres of land. As I attended a formal luncheon at Ravennaside, the word salon kept coming to me. The first meaning was apparent given the mansion’s magnificent public rooms....

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McDonald’s Comes to St. Francisville

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pp. 258-262

Louisiana was the eighth state on the Journey. They call things by different names here. The local governmental unit known as a county in the other forty-nine states is a parish in Louisiana. Most people say it’s the French-Canadian influence. Except that the French-Canadians, known as Cajuns, settled the land on the west side of the Mississippi...

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Crossing the River by Ferryboat

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pp. 263-265

St. Francisville is on high ground, and the Mississippi River is but a few miles away. Leaving St. Francisville, you immediately descend toward the river.
After a couple of curves, the landing for the St. Francisville/New Roads ferryboat comes into view. This boat carries traffic from Louisiana Highway 10 across the Mississippi River. The ferry leaves on the hour...

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Baton Rouge, Huey Long, and the Movie Industry

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pp. 266-271

Baton Rouge lies on the east bank of the Mississippi River, so coming from New Roads, I crossed the river again. The river widens at every crossing. It’s now a monster.
Baton Rouge got its name from a boundary line. The Indians marked the boundary between their hunting grounds on this bluff by stripping a red cypress tree of its bark. As the French explorers progressed up river,...

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On to Opelousas

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pp. 272-276

Taking the Acadiana Trail due west from Baton Rouge, the next stop is Opelousas (pronounced “OPP a luses”). Opelousas is the capital of the Cajun Prairie and self-proclaimed world zydeco capital. Arriving at the city center of Opelousas late Friday afternoon, I asked the nice ladies at the tourist information center if there would be “any zydeco dancing...

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Travel Notes:What’s a Coon Ass?

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p. 277-277

A Cajun is defined as “a Louisianan who descends from Frenchspeaking Acadians.” Cajun history begins with the Great Derangement, or as the Acadians say, “Le Grand Dérangement.” After the French and Indian War, the British expelled thousands of French Catholic settlers from the maritime provinces of eastern Canada and the coastal region...

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Cajun vs. Coon Ass

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pp. 278-279

Now against this backdrop—where I knew that it might be inappropriate to call a Cajun a coon ass—I asked Byron Zaunbrecher if he were Cajun. He said, “Hell no! I’m a coon ass and proud of it.” He did not seem to appreciate my question. Since I was his guest and he was much bigger than me, I let the matter drop. But I was still curious....

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Zydeco Dancing

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pp. 280-283

It’s nighttime and I’m in a strange town. I ask the clerk at my hotel about Slim’s Y-Ki-Ki Club. “You should’ve been here last week because Chris Ardoin played,” she said. “I’m not sure they will be open tonight if no one is playing.”
She recommended a restaurant which was on the way to Slim’s. She advised that I’d have plenty of time to eat because things wouldn’t get...

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Boudin, Sugar Cane Farming, and More Crawfish

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pp. 284-290

Just when you think America has become a homogenized collection of subdivisions and franchised retail operations radiating from interstate exits, just when it seems that the Journey is reduced to traveling from one McDonald’s location to another, glimpses of regional differences peek out. One example of regional identity occurs on I-59, outside of Opelousas,...

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The Road to New Orleans

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pp. 291-294

Before heading to New Orleans, I decided to swing by Avery Island. The island is home to approximately 2,000 people and is still entirely owned, I think, by the McIlhenny family. The island is one of five salt domes rising above the Gulf and is, quite literally, a mountain of salt surrounded by swamps and marshes. The salt is mined from a shaft 530 feet deep....

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Once the Levees Break

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pp. 295-302

Let’s face it: New Orleans is a strange place. New Orleans reminds me of my crazy uncle, the husband of my dad’s twin sister. A dentist by profession, he moved his family to the Georgia barrier islands and opened an office. His office hours were arranged to fit his golf and party schedule. He didn’t mind working, but he wanted to have some fun along the way....

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Mississippi Gulf Coast

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pp. 303-308

Ten miles east of New Orleans, there is no city, just wild marshlands, a narrow strip of lowland with a road running through the middle of it. The Gulf of Mexico is on the right, Lake Pontchartrain on the left. No old buildings sit on this land; Katrina blew them away. New vacation houses, simple structures built on stilts covered with plastic siding, stick...

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Travel Notes: Beauvoir

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pp. 309-311

Beauvoir, the retirement home of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, was built in 1852. Davis purchased Beauvoir some years after the Yankees charged him with treason but let him go without a trial. After his death, his wife sold the property to the Mississippi division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on the condition...

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Mobile

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pp. 312-314

Sometimes you have to wonder whether it’s the town or you. Sometimes the wind is at your back; sometimes not. Sometimes things just seem to jibe; other times they don’t. I arrived in downtown Mobile late one morning without anything planned. None of the feelers I sent before coming had borne fruit. Without any appointments, I walked...

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Hank, Biscuits, and Green Roofs

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pp. 315-324

Montgomery is the capital of the Black Belt, Alabama’s cottongrowing area. In his 1901 autobiography Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington wrote of the Black Belt:

The term was first used to designate a part of the country which was distinguished by the colour of the soil. The part of the country possessing this thick, dark, and naturally rich soil was, of course, the...

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Forty Miles to Tuskegee

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pp. 325-329

It’s only forty miles from Montgomery to Tuskegee, but the cultural distance is much greater—from the first capital of the Confederacy to a town nationally known as a center of African-American achievement. Tuskegee is home to Tuskegee University, perhaps the most influential private, historically black university in the country. Founded in 1881,...

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Fender Bender in Birmingham

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pp. 330-333

Birmingham—pronounced “Buuminham” by the natives—is a major southern city. The metropolitan area contains almost one and a quarter million people. This constitutes almost twenty-five percent of Alabama’s total population. Even though the metropolitan area has grown, the city of Birmingham has not. Its population peaked at 340,000...

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Travel Notes: Iced or Hot? Sweet or Un?

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pp. 334-336

Quick now, what’s the quintessential southern drink? If you guessed anything other than tea, you lose. Tea is the second-most-popular beverage in the world, trailing water in worldwide consumption. But hot tea in the hot South isn’t all that popular a beverage. Around these parts, when you speak of tea, you mean iced tea. And not just iced tea because...

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Metropolitan Atlanta

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pp. 337-342

Atlanta and Birmingham are not far apart—less than 150 miles on I-20 from downtown to downtown. Other than the occasional Confederate bumper-stickered pickup truck you could be pretty much anywhere in America, one interstate exit after another with national chains advertising their products from large signs. There’s also lots of...

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Traveling South Georgia

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pp. 343-349

South Georgia is defined as anyplace south of metropolitan Atlanta. It’s about 250 miles from the center of Atlanta to the state line of Florida, and the state is about 250 miles wide. So it’s a large landmass. I’d never been to South Georgia and must admit to a certain prejudice. In 1975, I remember expressing surprise that my father, a Georgia native, was not...

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Happy Animals. Good Cheese.

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pp. 350-354

I took the back roads leaving Providence Canyon. Just before getting back on the highway, I saw a couple of quail hot-footing it along the road. Appropriate, since I was headed to Thomasville, the next stop on the map and the epicenter of Georgia bird hunting. Fifty or so plantations around Thomasville provide some of the best quail hunting in the United...

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Tallahassee

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pp. 355-359

I arrived in Tallahassee after a summer rainstorm. It’s a pretty city, with oak trees, Spanish moss, and rolling hills. At first, I thought the lack of activity downtown was due to the weather. I found other southern state capital cities—Jackson, Montgomery, Little Rock—pretty lively compared to the capital of the Union’s fifth-largest state on that July evening. Even Thomasville, Georgia, was perkier than downtown Tallahassee....

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Ybor City

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pp. 360-363

Central Florida sure is a crowded place. The St. Petersburg–Tampa area, which covers only a portion of the western side of central Florida, has a population equal to the population of the entire state of Arkansas and only slightly less than the population of South Carolina....

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Cracker from Kissimmee

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pp. 364-367

Orlando is as far south as the Journey took me. Little Rock and Hot Springs are almost 1,000 miles away and the nation’s capital is over 900 miles to the north. There’s still plenty of Florida left below us. Miami is almost 300 miles farther south, and Key West is over 400 miles away. But those places are in South Florida. It’s different and not truly southern. It...

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The First Coast

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pp. 368-370

Branding—creating catchy names for places—can sometimes go too far. In Florida, branding has gotten out of hand. Due east of Orlando is the Space Coast, which has famous Cape Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center, and rocket ship launchings. To the north is the two-county Fun Coast, which includes Daytona Beach. After the Fun Coast, the First Coast...

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Stuck in South Georgia

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pp. 371-377

Jacksonville is a major American city with tall buildings, a large university, and even an NFL football team. It also has all of the problems of a modern American city: sprawl, traffic, crime. Plus one problem that most metropolitan areas don’t have—nuisance alligators. Now I’m not suggesting that nuisance alligators are a huge problem—unless you’re caught in an alligator’s jaws....

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Savannah

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pp. 378-384

After spending the day stuck in the sands of South Georgia and staying late with Jackie Carter, I arrived in Savannah very late and very hungry. I asked the desk clerk for a restaurant recommendation. She replied, “All the restaurants have closed their kitchens by now, but I bet you can find a bar down the street that will serve you something.” A real...

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Travel Notes: Georgilina

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pp. 385-387

The free magazines set out on most hotel room desks are a perk of modern travel. Savannah’s River Inn featured the current issue of the Savannah Magazine, which was celebrating twenty years of publication. The magazine had invited its readers to submit “20 Big Ideas for Our Future.” Big Idea #3 caught my eye: “Erase the South Carolina/Georgia state line and think in bioregional rather than political terms.”...

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Coastalitis

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pp. 388-394

In A Southerner Discovers the South, Jonathan Daniels relates a conversation with a Savannah doctor who described the residents of the low country as “the most ignorant, pitiful, and poverty-stricken whites in Georgia….Many of them are scrawny humans hardly fit for oppression…[ One] boy, sent to Savannah, had malaria, hookworm, pellagra...

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Carolina Gold

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pp. 395-397

Charleston would be a great place to end my ten-state Journey of the South. Confident and bustling, Charleston seems to be the dynamic city of the modern South. No doubt the arrival of the Boeing plant has given Charleston a boomtown atmosphere. Boeing’s decision to build its new Boeing 787 aircraft in North Charleston required a 600,000....

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Flatland to Fall Line

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pp. 398-403

Jonathan Daniels didn’t end his Journey of years ago in Charleston. He made the terminus Columbia, the last city Sherman destroyed during the Civil War.
The drive from Charleston to Columbia takes about two hours. Leaving the low country, it’s a trip across the coastal plain of South Carolina into an area known as the midlands, the start of South...

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Epilogue: June 2013

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pp. 404-405

Reviewing the manuscript brings back many great memories of touring the South. But I’m reminded that nothing stays the same. Some changes, like those to Mr. Jefferson’s University, Kings Mountain, and Andersonville, are slow and imperceptible. Some changes are dramatic. The Gulf Coast has endured another environmental disaster. Tornados...

Notes on Sources

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pp. 406-408

Sources

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pp. 409-432

Songs from the Journey

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pp. 433-436

Index

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pp. 437-445

About the Author

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p. 446-446


E-ISBN-13: 9781935106661
E-ISBN-10: 193510666X

Page Count: 446
Publication Year: 2014