around atlanta: smack into the city

Downtown and South Downtown (SoDo), into Grant Park.  It was a Sunday afternoon and I had questions. Where are all the people who live here, dine here, shop here, raise their families here?
They aren't here. They have moved to Midtown and other neighborhoods. People may work in downtown Atlanta, but they surely don't live here anymore (for the most part), although there is a large homeless population. We got out and walked, and we drove through, in late afternoon, and watched men and women making ready their beds for the night with pieces of cardboard, with shopping carts, a blanket perhaps, under ramps and in parking lots, on steps.

We also got caught up in the traffic leaving the Georgia Dome after a Falcons game. The population swelled for a moment, but all cars were heading out of the city.

This article, in Creative Loafing, addressed some of my questions.  It's titled "South Downtown Must be Fixed for Atlanta to Thrive" followed by this subhead: "The area south of Five Points was once bustling. What the hell happened?" It's enlightening and opinionated. The comments are... interesting.
What a contrast from our last Sunday drive! I want some books about Atlanta's history. Preferably with lots of photos. Anybody know where I should start?

I'm in D.C. today, working with 4th graders at The Potomac School. We're talking about how to create unforgettable characters. These kids are teaching me a lot. They're fabulous. I'm on my lunch break. Back to it. I'll be home -- home to my new home town -- on Wednesday night.


  1. Debbie, you should talk to Jeff McCord about this. He used to be the Chair of the Grant Park Historical Committee for the neighborhood association. He also knows a great deal about Georgia history. There are several great history books about Atlanta. Michael Rose from The Atlanta History Center wrote one that's popular, and Arcadia Press and the History Press put out lots of books about neighborhoods that contain lots of photos. In fact, the Grant Park book was published earlier this year.

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  3. Thanks for this, Jef. I can see, a trip to BTBR is in order after Thanksgiving. It's been in order for a long, long time. I'd love to talk with Jeff and find some good books. I've got a list going... xo

  4. Hi, Girl! My 2 cents: This is NOT the time for books; it's an opportunity to jump in with both feet and EXPERIENCE Atlanta's history. Here's what I did (& continue to do): visit the historical museums -- mining, Jewish, slavery, etc.; look online for walking and home tours of various neighborhoods; attend history lectures around town at libraries & educational institutions; check out local craft fairs & chat up the artisans; take a few organized historical tours, everything from horse-drawn carriages to Gray Line buses; basically, act like a tourist.
    Remember how you tried to teach me to find the "heart" of every story in the personal, spoken memories of the people I was writing about? Well, you were right!
    Love you, Girl! --Tana

  5. hey, Tana! All good advice, of course, and I will do it this coming year -- plus I'll have to read some books, it's what I do. :> I think the oral history I did of Frederick had as much impact on me as anything else in helping me fall in love with a new hometown.

    Have you come to a new appreciation of Tucson since you started jumping in with both feet? (Moving there helped, I'm sure.) You taught me plenty, too. Miss you. Debbie xoxo


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