Southern Food Tour

Abandoned and Broken in the South: Urban and Rural Decay (Photo Essay)

This building is in the center of downtown Oakland, Fayette County.

Broken Windows

Inside the unused building in Oakland.

Furniture store in Fayette County destroyed by a fire.

The extent of the damage from the fire forced the owners to leave everything. Nothing was salvageable. Even computers are still in the back office.

I’m not sure what kind of frame or picture this once was, but I loved that you can still read “Memphis” under all the soot.

Eads Elementary School has not been used in many years. There are still desks, chairs, school supplies, and a piano inside. It was also used as a clinic at one point.

Graffiti is often on most abandoned or vacant buildings.

The Sterick Building or “Queen of Memphis” downtown was completed in 1929 and cost nearly $3 million dollars to build. It opened right before the Depression and unfortunately went bankrupt. It has been vacant since 1987.

Homeless people in Memphis have been known to take shelter in the Sterick Building.

29 stories of the Sterick Building

Empty retail space in downtown Memphis. I loved the random toys. A few teddy bears and a mannequin head.

The Tennessee Brewery was built in 1890 and was once home to the Memphis Brewing Company. However, it has been closed since 1954.

The Brewery is still for sale if anyone is interested!

There were plans to turn the old Brewery into a museum or a condo, but they fell through.

“Invest in Good Times.” The Tennessee Brewery is filled with graffiti inside and out.

Graffiti inside the Brewery.

On top of one roof of the Brewery.

This is a view of the Mississippi River and the old bridge from one roof of the Tennessee Brewery.

The Mississippi River from the top roof of The Tennessee Brewery.

The Marine Military Hospital opened in 1884, but has not been used as a hospital in over 40 years. Today, it is known for being the most haunted place in Memphis, for obvious reasons. It has many buildings, one of which is now a Metal Museum.

Built in 1911, the old police station in downtown Memphis has been vacant for 30+ years.

The grand opening of the Sears Tower was in 1927. It is 650,000 square feet! There have been rumors about turning it into an apartment complex. It has been vacant since 1996.

Abandoned home near Highway 64 and 385.

Fayette County, TN hopeless and abandoned house.

The James Lee House is such a beautiful and unique structure. It was built in 1848 and has been vacant for 50 years, but while taking this photo I found out that it has been sold! The new owners have plans to make the house into a bed and breakfast.



Southern Food is Life (Photo Essay)

Sweet Ice Tea

Sweet tea is the corner stone to any southern meal. Besides breakfast that is. This liquid gold is a must to any quality southern home.I can not remember a family meal where the drink on everyone’s place mat was this incredible creation. It has to power to to turn a bad day into a good one.

While i my self am not extremely fond of pickled okra like the rest of my family, I am a fan of other ways to prepare the southern veggie. While steaming and grilling okra are excellent there is only real way to serve this vegetable. That style is of course fried, fried okra compliments any meal, add hot sauce and the meal can take a delicious turn.

While its know that the south, and especially Memphis is famous for BBQ, but we as Memphians know some of the best BBQ comes from home. My dad has had and used this smoker to make some of the best smoked pork, chicken, and beef. While my father has taught me many tings I will be able to use later in my life, I am most thankful for the knowledge of properly smoking various meat.

Again, I realize that this photo is not technically something you can actually eat, but it represents southern tradition. Venison (deer meat) is a a beautiful thing. While it is not the easiest meat to come by, it is quite delicious if prepared right. Along with being just great in flavor, it is a much leaner meat that beef or pork. My dad and I frequent our hunting spots and with luck we can harvest enough deer meat to fill an entire freezer. My family over the years has filled a small cook book of different recipes of deliciousness.

Grits. What is more southern than grits in the morning? I am not the most traveled person around, and the few northern cities i have visited do not have a good place to acquire this delicious southern dish. Add some cheese to grits and you my firned have a fine meal, that is easy and extremely cheap to make.

What is more down home than preserves? They are some what like jam and jelly, but better. My grandmother, for as long as I can remember, has not been able to resist the urge to jar and preserve fruit for later dates. I can not remember the last time i have needed to actually buy jelly or jam.

I find myself always coming back to fried food, and that is in no way a bad thing. I don’t know what it is that drives us southerners to throw all kinds of food into the frier. Out of everything that has found it way into the frier, pickles have proven to be one of the best one of the greatest appetizers around.

What more needs to be said about fried catfish and hush puppies? if you do not hve someone that is willing to make this for you there are multiple restaurants in the city of Memphis who would be happy to. Soul Fish being my personal favorite.

Still hungry after that delicious fried or smoked southern dinner? What better way to continue to gorge yourself than pie. What kind of pie you ask? Pecan Pie, that’s what kind. I can not imagine a finer way to end a meal.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner you will most likely come into contact with these puppies.

Cobbler. Peach, cranberry, cherry, blackberry, strawberry cobbler. It is a butter based desert, anyone with a soul knows that is the best kind of desert. If you have saved room from that pecan pie (we all know you did) grab a slab of this next a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Ah cornbread. Just another picture perfect side dish to any southern cuisine. Accompanied with a good stew (venison of course) any innocent by-stander could find themselves polishing off an entire pan of the maize inspired bread.

Biscuits may be the best breakfast food in the world. As mentioned before i am not a travel guru, but one question I have for northerners is what is the big deal with toast? If i had been subjected to toast breakfast for my entire life I am sure i would be rude all of the time as well. The family I stayed with claimed to have never purchased grits and had never thought to buy biscuits. We did not get along much after that early morning conversation.

What can i say that already has not been said about fried chicken? Not a lot is the answer, forgive my french, but it is damn good. If you can find man woman/man who can fry chicken marry them immediately. Until you find that special someone, Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken will do the trick and then some.



Walking In Memphis (Photo Essay)

Some of the places that you should visit if you ever decide to visit Memphis,Tennesee.  Also these are some places you should visit if you  live in the city and never visited them beofre and looking for something to do especially on a day that you bored and want to get out the house.


 Red Bird Stadium Downtown


 W.C handy house downtown off Forth street


  lorraine Motel (National Civil Rights Museum) The Motel that Martin Luther King Jr was assinant


 The Car that the Man(James Earl Ray) That Killed MLK drove at the extended builded they added on across the street from the civil right museum


 The bathroom that James Earl Ray was in when he killed MLk. This is window he looked out to watch the motel. this bathroom was across the street from the motel.


 The favorite Place everybody love to visit when they come to memphis and the place memphians love to hangout. Beale Street.  I took the picture bacause the Great Dane this is a Huge Dog


 Another beautiful Place you should visit the Mississippi river. downtown on the river front watching the sunset

 Bored One day and want to get out the house take a trip to riverside drive. beginning of the semester bored one weekend and took my son and my friend kids to play


 The All time favorite place that people love to travel to memphis to visit. Elivis Presley House


 Elvis Presley Car


 Elvis Presley Plane


 Elvis Presley hotel. HeartBreak Hotel


 Elvis Gift Shop… All these place can be Located on Elvis Presley Blvd


 The Memphis Zoo


 The Memphis zoo. a place me and my son love going when the weather is nice. I think every Summer we go to the zoo every Tuesday. Pictures Taking the beginning off the semester when it was hot outside


 Memphis Zoo


 Off subject but i included this pictures because it is part of my south. I work at this health and rehab center in arlington and this resident family member found this baby deer at our front door. Took a picture of him in the back seat of the police car.  Thought it was cute and wanted to share it. Baby bambi






Southern Town Stuck in Time, Photo Essay

This photo essay tells a story of an small Southern town that was completely skipped over in the reconstruction phase. Agriculture is all its ever known, and it is quite obvious. Small farmers in this area have to delicately balance between providing for their families and putting money into updating their equipment to ensure their farming operation is successful. Farmers in this area are often stuck in sharecropping contracts that plague their profits, and the visual clues are everywhere. As you can see in these pictures, these towns are dying out due to the fact that there are no jobs for young people. If something doesn’t change, these towns will not have a population in 20-30 years.


Shot of a small southern town where farming is still the only business around

Another view of the small town

Mid 1900’s model tractor. Massey Ferguson

Seat shot of the Massey Ferguson tractor


Another Massey Ferguson tractor still in use today

John Deere 2510 mid 60’s model tractor. Although not typically still used by small farmers for big tasks such as tilling ground anymore, they are still in use to do odd jobs such as spin ditching and running PTO powered equipment

Another older model tractor that small farmers still depend on to accomplish basic tasks

A more modern tractor that small farmers are beginning to acquire. The use of technology has significantly reduced the amount of time it takes to accomplish the same task. With this set up, a full truck load could be deposited into the bin in less than an hour

Another example of how modern technology and equipment has changed the way farmers operate

Modern day tractors are able to till land several times faster than older one were able to. The constant pressure for increased yield pressures farmers to update their equipment as quickly as possible

This modern day combine could fill this trailer in under an hour, something that would have taken an entire day 50 years ago

Seat shot of a modern tractor. An example of the technology inside a tractor. Compare to 50 years ago in the photos above

Top view of a grain trailer filled with corn

Example of a southern soybean field. Notice the size is relatively small (compared to others in Mid West)

Example of a corn field in the South. Again, notice the many divides in the land due to creeks and waterways

An excellent example of a small Southern farmers inventory. Notice how quickly technology advanced, the small number of tractors, and how many of the old tractors are still necessary to the success of a crop





Southern Environmental Racism

We have been talking a lot about environmental racism lately, and it has really sparked my interest. While I do believe it is wrong, I have come to a conclusion, that in my opinion,  it is probably one of the problems that will be the most difficult to fix. Until technology gets better, and we somehow come up with a way to reduce waste to a minimal, we will always produce garbage.  Obviously, when we produce garbage, we have to do something with it. Currently, most of the landfills and nuclear waste facilities are in the poorest counties of each state, and particularly the south. The south tends to attract landfills and waste facilities because it has much more poor, rural areas than compared to the north. However, what could we do about this? I’ve heard some suggestions such as just evenly distribute the waste between multiple counties in each state, and stop bringing all of it to the South. Well, while this sounds like a simple solution, it won’t exactly work like people think. Let’s say that we decide to put a landfill in the wealthiest county in Tennessee. If we did that, within a year or so, every single wealthy family would have moved elsewhere. Why? Because, no one wants to live by a landfill. Since the wealthy have the means to easily pick up and move, they will. This will in turn result in the property value decreasing and the only people living there doing so because it’s the only place they can find work. Within a couple years’ time, if even that long, the wealthiest community in Tennessee could be transformed into one of the poorest. My point is with this, we can’t stop it. The wealthy families will not live in an undesirable location, because they don’t have to. They can pick up and buy another house elsewhere, whenever they want. Poor people can’t do that because they simply cannot afford it. This will not change unless we stop people from being able to move residences freely, which will not happen. Keep in mind; I’m not saying that these dumps will always be in black neighborhoods, because there is a solution there. We can do things as a society that will allow blacks to be on an equal class status as whites. However, as far as class, theses landfills and dumps will always be in the poorest neighborhoods.

Now you’re probably asking, so what do you propose, just make the poor people live among garbage just because they’re poor? No, I believe there are solutions, but I do not believe that the government will take actions on any of these, because they are simply too expensive.  One would be funnel more money into developing technology that produces less waste. Another, come up with a better system to get Americans to recycle. Currently, we suck at recycling. I’m seen numerous examples of people throwing away a water bottle in a garbage can when there has been a recycling can right beside it. Americans just don’t care anything about recycling. Granted, recycling wouldn’t eliminate garbage, but it could significantly reduce the amount. The last would be ship the garbage somewhere where people do not live. This could help the many communities that have to live with landfills, but this would require the government to spend larger amount of money on garbage, something that they are not willing to do.

Religion and the Good Ole’ South




            When I think of the south and what it represents I think of several things. One thing that stood out to me most is religion.  Religion was a heavy topic that was discussed in our previous class discussions. Southerners really value religion and going to church.  When you drive anywhere in the south you will find a church on just about every corner. As I was driving down the streets of Memphis I would often times find several churches on one street. Some churches were not even a mile or even a half mile apart. As I was completing my photo essay it was important for me to capture the importance of religion in the hope. I wanted to take pictures of historical churches that people were currently attending. I wanted to capture photos of well-known black churches as well as well-known white churches. I also wanted to take pictures of large churches as well as small churches to show that there are a wide range of churches that people attend in the south. I recently went to Atlanta about two weeks ago and i made it mandatory to take a picture of Ebenezer Baptist Church which is where Martin Luther King Jr. and his father ministered. This church is a historic site for the south. I could not have left Atlanta, Ga. without capturing a photo of this church. It seems as though they tried to keep this church as original as possible. Too many upgrades to this church would take away from the old historic feeling. Even the sign for the church remains exactly the same as it did when Dr. King and his father preached there.

I also made it a priority of mine to take a picture of my childhood church. Religion is very close to my heart and I have so many memories within that church. My entire family went to church so it was very important for me to put this church in my photo essay because it is a part of who I am today. I have so many memories in this church that will never leave. It is and forever will be my home church. It is one of the smallest pictures that I have in my photo essay and that is another reason why I had to have this church in my photo essay. Most people today feel that they have to attend larger churches in order to feel important or as if their church is better than a smaller church. In my opinion I feel it does not make any difference whether my church is small or large just as long as I am receiving the word for the pastor.

I also travelled down to my old neighborhood as a young child. I really wanted to go back to my childhood neighborhood because I knew I could capture great photos of churches. There were three churches that were right next to each other. I never realized that these were three different churches when I was a little girl because it just seemed did not seem out of the ordinary to see these three churches next to one another. In one of these churches my sister and I belonged to a Girl Scout troop within the church.

Then I rode down Central Avenue and I took a picture of Second Presbyterian Church. This church is huge and I past by this church everyday to come to school. It would only be right to have this church in my photo essay. This church does several things for the community. Just about every time I past this church whether if it is on the weekday or weekend there is always some type of activity going on. This church even offers a church for the community which I think is great.

I also made it a point to get a photo of the Catholic Church Immaculate Conception. Not everyone in the South is Baptist. There are many Catholic people in the south so it would not be right to leave out Catholic Churches in my photo essay. There are many people in the south that are Catholic so it was important for me to have a well-known Catholic church in my photo essay. I have always heard this church brought up in several conversations but I never knew exactly where it was. When I think of the different churches in the south I always tend to think about predominately black churches, which is something I need to get out of the habit of. There are more churches in the South that are not mostly black.

World Overcomers church is located right here in the city on Winchester Avenue. It is a well-known black church. A one time in our city’s history this church was receiving a lot mixed reviews from the press around the country. The reason there was so much attention brought upon this church was because the statue of liberty was being built to be placed in the front of the church. People from around the city had mixed feelings about it. Even the New York City had something to say about the statue being built in Memphis, Tn. At the time when this was happening, I was a young girl. I did not know why this was such a big issue. Now that I am older, I have an opinion about it. It is not that big of a concern to me. World Overcomers has their own meaning for the statue so who I am to say that it is wrong for it to be in front of the church.

I rode around the city with my mom and older sister to do this project. Once I got into the assignment I started to really enjoy myself. I captured some great photos and I also received some weird looks from people as I was snapping my photos. I was really amazed by how well my pictures turned out and how many other churches are in the city that I did not take pictures of. That made me take notice of how much the South really values religion as a part of our culture.


Its a New Day

I woke up the other morning puzzled as to how I was going to get my day started; what would actually set the tone for the rest of my week. As I was getting ready I hear this debate on the news pertaining to Pre-K and the possibility of having to raise taxes to fund this program. Shortly after that I hear my grandmother discussing early voting on this particular matter…suddenly I had an idea. My morning would consist of meeting my peers, classmates, neighbors, etc . at the polls to cast our ballot. After getting ready and listening more as student council and student board members debated over the pros and cons; I was so anxious to get there. Of course, I’ve voted but it was always late and or due to my mother or grandmother harassing me about it. I was being an adult and taking the initiative to voice my opinion by casting a vote. Surprisingly, I get to the voting location and I’m surrounded by nothing but elderly people. One of the ladies working made a comment of how proud she was that a person my age would even consider coming to vote and alone at that.  That comment led me to believe that no one near my age had yet been there and that was appalling to me. In my attempt to get discouraged, I started to appreciate all the elderly people that I  saw leaving and coming. I wasn’t second guessing voting, it was the fact that I have peers that could be directly impacted by this and they had no intentions or interest in voting. The young ladies that are becoming future educators like myself and those friends that are currently having financial hardships should have been the first in line. The result of this program being passed is a raise in sales taxes…none of us could really afford that. I guess the younger generation has not yet learned to appreciate the past in which African Americans had no right to vote especially in the South. There were people on walking canes, in wheel chairs, and in a physical condition in which they could have easily chosen to stay at home. Maybe their motivation was them remembering the place in which they or their parents lived where blacks were excluded and now  they’re taking advantage of all opportunities today.  A scripture came to me as I continued to look around the room, “never grow weary in well doing” and at this point I was patting myself on the back.  So often I’ve found that daring to be different is frightening to people, especially the blacks. The fact that we live in a “monkey see monkey do” time doesn’t make being pro-active in things such as voting any easier. The majority of the elderly people that I saw voting that day were blacks and even though African Americans have overcome oppression, the things that were once void in their lives in very much appreciated today. I’m one out of a million young African Americans, but I know that I stand alone. My decision to vote in elections, community wide issues, ect. is not only for myself but for my ancestors that didn’t have the opportunity to or whom’s voice was not allowed to be heard. We need to jump on the bandwagon..its a new day yall!

The South is so Unique and Fun!


The south is a great place to live and/or travel. The south is known for its southern hospitality, and fun activities. The food and the music isn’t the only thing that makes the south special. The south is significant for other things as well. The south has so many fun things to do such as beaches, parades, and festivals. For example, there are many beaches and tourist attractions the south provides. The south provides different types of weather, physical characteristics, and other varieties. For instance, you can visit Florida where it is very tropical, and then Tennessee where there are plenty of trees and snow in the winter. In the south you just don’t receive one type of climate, you receive multiple. But I must say Florida has the best weather that the south has to offer. I love going to Florida and visiting the beach. My favorite part of Florida is Miami because I travel there frequently. Florida is very tropical and has some of the best shopping plazas as well. Everything is a little expensive, but it is well worth it. Another city in Florida I like to visit is Tampa. I like Tampa because my godfather lives there and we always visit different unique restaurants. Even though it rains a lot, Tampa is still a great place to travel. New Orleans is also a city that I travel to at least every other year. This city has the Essence Festival which displays all sorts of fun things. They also have Bourbon St., great hotels, and nice restaurants. New Orleans has great bars with great music. Some of the best live bands play down in New Orleans. I cannot wait until February so I can visit this city again. I can’t forget about Texas! Texas has some of the best tourist attractions. Texas is very big, so they have room for plenty of fun. The football games are the best, especially in Dallas. Everyone is so full of Cowboy spirit and they have some of the best game after parties. I really love the night life in Houston. You haven’t had fun until you party in Houston, Texas. Houston is one of my top five favorite cities to party in. I say that because everyone is so full of life, and love to have fun. Texas also has an outdoor mall that takes three days to view called San Marcos, in a little town called San Marcos. Of course, I love Atlanta, GA, who doesn’t. Atlanta is not as expensive as Florida, but you still can have the same amount of fun. No, Atlanta doesn’t have a beach; however, it has one of the best aquariums. It also has the Coca-Cola Factory and other attractions as well. I love to travel, and I’m quite sure you all do as well. There is no place like the south and I say that because the south has its own sort of flavor that it brings to the United States! The south is the best place ever!!