Monday, March 19, 2007

THE SUMMER ROAD TRIP . . . ATLANTA, JACKSON (MS) AND NEW ORLEANS . . . ANY USEFUL TIPS, SUGGESTIONS AND/ OR WARNINGS?

We'll be on the road this summer and headed due South, as might be expected (smile). Our first over-night stop will probably be Atlanta. I have a friend who teaches at a small liberal arts college in the area and I hope to spend at least a day, hanging out with her.

Perhaps those of your familiar with the ATL could give me a suggestion or two, as far as what "family-oriented" things we might want to see or do while we're there. Keep in mind, I'm only planning on spending ONE full day there. What bookstores might I want to visit? What restaurants might we want to try? Which civil right stops/landmarks are must-sees? I'm even open to considering those things you've heard from others. Even though my friend has been begging me to visit her for years, I've only stopped in the ATL once and that was for a brief over-night stay this past Christmas. I didn't really get to see or do anything, even though the hubby insisted we stay downtown, high atop The Peachtree, if only for the spectacular view. It was nice . . . except for the roach that greeted us upon entry into our room (LOL). In any case, since we now live so close to Atlanta, we do plan to vist more often.

After dropping the young'un off with relatives in Memphis, the hubby and I are heading for Jackson, Mississippi. Yeah, I know some of you are scratching your head and wondering: Why in the world would she wanna go there? But I bet those of you who know me well or else are familiar with Jackson, already know why. Eudora Welty, of course.

If you don't know who Eudora Welty is, well, you need to ask somebody. Better yet, Google her and then go ready her story, "Why I live at the P.O." A stranger who'd read some of my work once, told me my style kind of reminded her of Welty's. Of course, another acquaintance (an English professor) told me my style reminded her of Raymond Carver's. Yeah, go figure. Anyway, I'm going to Jackson in order to stop by Miss Welty's house and tour the gardens she tended and loved so well when she was alive. If possible, I also plan to tour the house. I'd love to see where she did her writing.

As many times as I've visited and driven through Mississippi, I've never stayed overnight. But this time, I just might. Anybody know what else there is to do in Jackson, Mississippi? Any tips on where a sister might grab a bite to eat?

After Jackson, we're headed for New Orleans. I've been to New Orleans once, but it was years ago and work related. This time I want to really see/experience New Orleans . . . or at least what's left of it post Katrina. We'll probably stay 3-4 days in the Big Easy. I love checking out historically Black college campuses, so I am planning to visit Xavier University while I'm there. But else should I do? Where should I go? What should I see?

Yeah, I know, I've got to hit The French Quarter and the Garden District, but give me some specifics, if you will. Where do I go to hear some decent jazz? Where can I get a bowl of gumbo or sample some of those pralines and beignets I always hear folks raving over? What other sites would you suggest I try and/or see? Museums? Bookstores? Haunted Houses? Cemeteries? I'm not a big fan of swamps or plantations (sorry, but a sister ain't trying to have nightmares about Mammy, Da Master and Miss Prissy and 'Nem), but for this trip, I won't completely rule them out (smile).

3 comments:

prof blackwoman said...

My mom swears bu Aunt Pitty Pat's Porch for good Southern cooking.

Charis is the feminist bookstore in town it is on Euclid but honestly I prefered Borders which has a more diverse selection.

If you want to shop, you want to go to the underground the kiosks change regularly but the woman who sells Haitain masks is almost always there (her husband trades medical service for meals and masks each summer, she sells them, and the profit goes to fund the medical supplies they use on their trips and to leave supplies behind) and there is an African store at the very end up a small stairwell - much larger than you might think from the outside, friendly owner, nice stuff, reasonable prices.

If you and the hubby are staying downtown again, The Metro has a nice romantic atmosphere, a full menu of coffee and wine and some of the yummiest cakes in the area (however it is super snooty). It is a great place for after hours.

For the kids there is this all night diner that sells the largest cookies ever . . . I'll have to see if I can remember the name - but most people in town should know it if you ask.

If you are like me and you like to carry some healthy snacks when you drive you should go to the open market, not only do they have fresh made goods, cheap fruit, and international juices, spices, etc. (all of which make great presents too), they also have a buffet with yummy organic international foods where you pay by weight of the plate. I happened to love the somosas (which are by the item) and the curried chickpeas and potatoes. Yummy.

I may loose my blackness cred for this one, but on your way out of town, for a laugh, you should stop at the drive through bbq it is not bad and it is just fun to tell people about later. (Don't buy the cobbler, it is super good but it comes in condiment cups - yes the cups they normally use for ketchup)

Lori said...

Hey Prof BlackWoman,
Thanks for all of the great info. The drive thru bbq sounds more like my kind of thing than the Metro. I do "folk" a whole lot better than I do "snoot" (LOL). But I will keep the Metro in mind for when the hubby and do the ATL without the young'un.

I plan to print out your suggestions and take them with me.
My professor friend who lives in the ATL is a bit of a homebody, so, she hasn't been a bit of help (LOL). Appreciate ya!

prof blackwoman said...

its been a while, so I don't remember the street names for the drive through (we had a running joke that everything is on the corner of peach tree and peach tree anyway - and trust me it is), but it is on the same street as the Whole foods between whole foods and the post office somewhere hopefully you can find it with that info (if it doesn't come up, look under decatur instead of ATL). I think it is also the bbq place Emory used for catering - which reminds me, if you like california asian food there is a nice noodle place in Virginia Highlands (a high end shopping area that I personally haven't found very black people friendly but that's just me)and another across from Emory's campus, it is a favorite with everyone I know and has been mentioned on national tv more than once - I liked the yakisoba with chicken. If you do go the High, there is an Italian ice shop in the area with the yummiest ices in town.