Friday, December 16, 2011

Richmond Was at the Center of the Civil War

Richmond was the site of many battles in this war that defined the nation.  It was the capitol of the Confederacy, home of the iron works that produced the most cannon and ammunition in the South, and gateway to Southern territory.  There are two terrific museums on the Civil War located right next to each other at the Tredegar Iron Works, and I recommend both of them.

A cannon outside the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond.

This one is inside the museum, where a class was taking notes on the exhibit.

A scupture expressing the agony of brothers who fought on opposite sides of the conflict.

A mourning dress for wives of soldiers killed.

A wonderful National Park Service ranger.

More views of what's left of the Tredegar Iron Works, which supplied the Confederacy with most of its cannons (above and below).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let's Do the Charleston

Charleston is a pretty city, though I liked Savannah better because its historic district is concentrated within one square mile, including 24 historic squares with statues, fountains, live oaks and Spanish moss.  But Charleston ain't bad.

This is one of the cannons that probably fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, starting the American Civil War.

Jermel President and his son, Jermel, Jr., at his aunt's holistic soulfood cafe, Alluette's.  My fried fish and collards were superb!  When I asked him about racism in Charleston, Jermel said, "There is no black or white, there's one situation.  And if you don’t understand that, you get caught up in that.  If it rains tomatoes, we’ll make Bloody Mary's.  Whatever goes on you just have to be effective and deal with it."  He played pro basketball and now coaches and runs a non-profit, DAE, which  works with student athletes, helping with the transition from high school to college. 
A T-shirt in a Charleston shop window that shows the Native American perspective on the Euro-American invasion from the East.

My quest to bond better with dogs on this trip was rewarded by Saatchi, who loved to hang out in the Charleston hostel.  Saatchi is part Havana Silk Dog and part Shih-Tzu.  She was independent-spirited, like a cat, which endeared her to me.

Now there's a bond!  That's Saatchi with her master, Nicole, who ran the hostel.

Multi-million-dollar homes on the waterfront of Charleston.

The front door to the Aiken-Rhett house, formerly the luxurious residence of slave-owning whites.  Behind the door is a marble staircase with wrought iron bannisters and mahogany trim.  I wasn't allowed to take pictures indoors.

This is the staircase for slaves to enter the house with food, clean laundry, and whatever else the Aiken family wanted.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Charleston Plays Water Music

Charleston does fountains right, do you agree?  It has the whole Atlantic nearby, and it plays with water better than Chicago played with Lake Michigan.  Seattle failed in the fountain category miserably despite proximity to the Pacific.  Only St. Louis, on the Mississippi, rates as well as Charleston in the fountain category. 

Air temperature was in the 80s in Charleston the second week in November.

The top three fountains were in the middle of downtown.

This is in Waterfront Park.

Also in Waterfront Park.  Rate Charleston on fountains (the next pic is of one of the two waterfront fountains in Seattle, so you can compare).

Seattle's waterfront fountain.  This is an important issue, folks!  If Seattle can't be creative with the Pacific Ocean, what sort of future does it have as a city known for entrepreneurial spirit?  Let's hear from you...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Deep South

In the Deep South I experienced comfortable, early-November weather, not oppressive heat, which in a way would have been good because hot, humid weather is the essence of our dreams of the South. 

My tour guide at Eudora Welty's house. Ms. Welty loved camellias
My tour guide at Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Eudora Welty's house in Jackson, Mississippi, the town in which "The Help" was situated.  Ms. Welty was in favor of human rights and loved camellias.

A camellia close-up.
A camellia close-up.

This plaque, with sunlight playing over it in Eudora Welty's garden reads:  "The outside world is the vital component of my inner life...My imagination takes its strength and guides its direction from what I see and hear and learn and feel and remember of my living world."

Eudora Welty's Pulitzer Prize.
Eudora Welty's Pulitzer Prize was found in a box in a closet in her house.  Either she was very humble about the prize, or wanted to appear humble, or forgot she had it, or didn't like the people on the committee who selected her, or.....She also won two Presidential Medals of Honor, an honorary doctorate from Harvard, and five other world-class literary prizes.  She didn't display any of them.

Occupy Birmingham
Pictures of Occupy Birmingham.  They are pressuring the government to pass campaign finance reform that keeps big corporations out of elections.  They are also interested in tax reform that levels the playing field and makes the American dream more obtainable for those who aren't extremely wealthy.  Temperatures get into the teens in Birmingham several nights per winter.  It's that cold or colder every night for Occupy Portland, Maine, where I attended a General Assembly.  Occupy Maine intends to be there all winter in order to effect change.  What do you think of the Occupy movement?

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Scenes from New Orleans

New Orleans has magic that can't be denied, and I can't be denied the opportunity to post more pics of it.

Andrew Jackson statue in front of St. Louis Cathedral.

Interior of St. Louis Cathedral.

A beautiful balcony in the French Quarter.
A beautiful balcony in the French Quarter.

A secret garden, way in the back, in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
A secret garden, way in the back, in the French Quarter.

For some reason,
For some reason, "dat" is a big word in Nawlins.  Don't ask me why...

Real leaves in the cracks and the wrought iron leaves on the gate make it leafy. 
Real leaves in the cracks and the wrought iron leaves on the gate make it ------ leafy.

The front door to the open air market.
The "front door" to the open air market.

The Mississippi is not that much wider here than it was in St. Louis.
The Mississippi is not that much wider here than it was in St. Louis.

Picturesque French Quarter.
Picturesque French Quarter.

A real pirate this time.
A real pirate this time.

Full moon rising over the Mississippi.
Full moon rising over the Mississippi.

Statue of a Cajun 'gator.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Scenes from N'Orleans

The Caribbean influence on Magazine Street, the street upon which I fell in love with New Orleans.

A neat house on Magazine Street.  Lots of wrought iron.

The wrought iron gate and fence are like lace.

I want a palm tree in my front yard, too!

A bird of paradise growing as a perennial in the Garden District of Nawlins.

Here's the house that goes with the bird of paradise bush.

This is how it looks when morning glory vines grow year-round in the French Quarter.

Some other sort of vine.

Anybody know the name of this vine?

A tempting private garden lies behind these houses in the French Quarter.

In keeping with my statue theme, here's a Mardi Gras king.

A scene from another neighborhood, the St. Louis #1 Cemetary.

A fountain in front of St. Louis Cathedral.  Demerits to the City of New Orleans 'cuz it's not running.

An equestrian statue:  Andrew Jackson.

An funny understatement that works two ways.

An interesting door in the French Quarter.

A statue in New Orleans of Joan of Arc, of all people.  And why not?  She was a peasant girl who rose to command an army, in an era when peasant girls hadn't the slightest chance of being any more than a peasant girl.