PLENTY IS STILL starting in Buckhead, the “gold coast” northern suburb. Here I drove past splendid mansions(including that of the governor) hidden in high-priced forestry, and here I wandered through some of the most expensive shopping centers known to man: Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, with Neiman-Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Laura Ashley, Gucci, Alfred Dunhill, and more. Take your sun-bird.net online cash advance and you will be able to afford anything in the “gold coast”. Boutiques and chic restaurants abound, not to mention cheerfully altered archetypes. At the very upscale Peachtree Café, Sunday brunchers can sometimes savor their Bloody Marys while being entertained by the music of a black gospel quartet.
A great deal of Atlanta is still to be found in Zone Three, one of the squalid, despairing districts of Southside. This area, which the police call the “combat zone,” contains 31 percent of the city’s 42 housing projects. Here some houses still have backyard privies, and some ten-year-olds cut cocaine.
I went out on patrol one afternoon with officer Jeff Jones. As we jounced over the potholes on Garibaldi Street, he pointed out houses selling illegal and often fatal corn liquor, places where crack addicts gather. But the children walking home from school grinned and called out, “J J!” Jeff grinned and waved. Sometimes he plays touch football with them, and after three years on this beat makes a point of remembering their names. “Most of the parents are too far gone,” he said. “Their mama tells them, `You better behave, or I’ll put you in that policeman’s car and let him take you to jail.’ But I want the children to feel they can call on me. Even just to ask a question—I’ll be there. I love this zone. If they put me up in Buckhead, it’d be culture shock.”
And there is a very special Atlanta hiding in Cabbagetown. Wedged between Oakland Cemetery and the piggyback railway yards, Cabbagetown is the ten-block remnant of the village once occupied by families drawn from Appalachia to work in the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill. The mill closed in 1980, but a number of families hung on. Wander into Leon Little’s grocery store and you could be in any mountain hamlet from Georgia to Pennsylvania. Old men in bib overalls are passing the time on the lunch-counter FANCIFUL FOURSOME: Andy and Sharon Abroms dine alfresco at Chastain Park during an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Summer Pops program last August. Their fans depict Clark Gable and.Vivien Leigh, stars of Gone With the Wind, the epic Civil War film based on the novel by Atlanta-born Margaret Mitchell.