A day drive from Atlanta to New Orleans, with short stops in Tuskegee, Montgomery, and somewhere outside of Mobile.
After leaving the MLK museum, we headed onwards and outwards, along I-65. Maki took a nap while I manned the wheel, and before we knew it, we had crossed into Alabama. Not long after the border, we saw a sign for Tuskegee, and looking at our atlas, we decided it was close enough to the highway to merit a short visit. And a delightful choice it was. After a quick lunch at Burger King (sign, at least they have a veggie burger!), we headed to the museum at the Tuskegee Airfield, managed by the National Park Service, and a delightful stop it was! The Civil Rights Movement, of course, is a long, triumphant, but often depressing story, and one of the nice things about stopping at the museum there was that this is a truly happy story. It shocks you to think that during World War II, the Tuskegee Institute had the ONLY integrated cafeteria in the entire South. The stories of cooperation and success that emerged from the institute, I think, are one of few feel-good stories of the movement, unaccompanied by the major tragedies that came with each hard-earned success. And the little museum there was surprisingly good — a perfect break from our day of driving. The next stop was Montgomery, where we stopped briefly to pay our respects to the state capital.
The city was largely boring — we expected as much (multiple people told us not to bother), but since the highway was literally just blocks from the capitol building, we figured it’d be worth a short stop. Montgomery was also briefly a capital of the Confederacy, and also there was the Confederate White House, a residence of Jefferson Davis.
But ever onwards and outwards. As night closed in, we scrapped plans of a brief stop in Mobile, realizing it wasn’t going to be worth much anyway, and decided the timing was right for a real Southern experience. Ah yes, Waffle House, an institution that sits at literally every highway exit, and in many cases, on both sides (so that there are two in eyeshot of each other). Amazing!
And, ever onwards and outwards: we crossed into Louisiana, where we stopped briefly at the rest stop for a map and a bathroom break.
A look into the vending machine and I had tangible proof we were in a new universe.
Ah, yes, welcome to Louisiana. Next stop: New Orleans.