New Orleans is the place to visit, look around

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Have you ever thought taking a weekend get-a-way in a vacation spot only a few hours from home?

You may want to trek over to New Orleans, only a three and one half hour drive and take in some of the sights there. Some of Katrina’s remains are still in place and you can get a look of some of them by exiting I-10 at the Little Woods exit in New Orleans East. This is the exit where Jazzland Amusement Park was located prior to Katrina. Travel over to St. Bernard Highway and into the city. Along the way are a few homes in a crumbled state from the impact of that famous 2005 hurricane.

For those of you who like pastries at their best, enjoy some tasty Beignets and French-Red Coffee. If you are not familiar with this pastry, well, it’s the Cajun name for doughnuts. The ingredients are lukewarm water, granulated sugar, evaporated milk, bread flour, shortening, oil for deepfrying and confectioners’ sugar. You may want to smack into one of those renowned New Orleans Po Boys filled with thick slices of meat and its “hidden recipe” gravy.

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From that charm spot, ease on over to the Aquarium of the Americas. Underwater scenes abound in this man-made wonder. Hundreds of underwater species are forever unveiling here.

Hop on a trolley and venture out to Audubon Park. There you will enjoy the wilds of Africa. In their natural habitat you will see animals, reptiles, fish, seals and birds. In addition there are exciting rides for the children.

A trip to this Crescent City would be incomplete without a visit to the Mercedes Superdome. Because of its vastness you should plan on spending a few hours there just to take it all in.

Jackson Square is only a few blocks away. A statue offering tribute to Louis Armstrong, the great Dixieland Jazz King is conspicuously anchored there.

And, over in the world famous Preservation Hall of Music archives of countless jazz musicians are on display. Atmore’s own Paul Crawford is mentioned here, too. He was the son of “Mrs. Crawford, long time pianist at First Baptist Church. Prior to his death a few years ago he enjoyed a life-long career as a jazz trombonist, university and college historian and songwriter.

Yes, you will find this trek over to New Orleans filled with many, many activities and good eating, too. Remarkably, this trip is only three and one half hours away.

Speaking of good places to visit, how about Mobile’s new ice skating rink, and what an appropriate time of the year to introduce this charm spot. It opened last week and I understand they are getting it ready for the Christmas season with an abundance of colorful lights and beautiful music. What a fitting combination-ice skating and Christmas.

What’s this I hear about Faulkner State and Jefferson Davis merging into one central location? That’s right. A report from Montgomery last week indicated consideration to merge seven schools into three regional campuses is now ongoing, including two I mentioned. The question is where would they locate it and what would be its new names? Could they possibly put it here in Atmore? That’s half way between the two schools. Wow, I will certainly be following developments in this move.

Now, let’s take a look at some news from 1966 beginning with a welcome announcement from Masland Carpets.

That Carlisle, Pa. firm announced that Atmore had been chosen for a $3.5 million plant. Our town was selected from a list of a dozen other sites from locations in several states. Initially the plant would employ over 130 with more to be added later. The local plant would manufacture carpet for both residences and businesses. We learned that some of those original employees are still working while many have retired with excellent benefits. The entire community is proud Masland made us their first choice back then.

Monsanto, another firm that employed countless local and area residents, recognized those employees for finishing on top of their United Fund Drive. In fact Escambia County employees topped Santa Rosa and Baldwin County employee donations.

Speaking of plants the Vanity Fair Corporation back then announced plans to unveil a new line of apparel. Attractive robes and loungewear would soon be produced in certain VF plants throughout this area. The Atmore plant employed over 300 workers at that time.

The Floral Garden, operated by the Masons, had their Grand Opening, featuring floral arrangements, pottery, china and crystal. The building was located, and still is, at the Frisco overpass on Highway 31.

Kelly Young, service manager at Friendly Ford, was presented an award of excellence for performance in diagnosis of Ford mechanical problems.

North Atmore was hit by a small tornado in November causing damage to mobile homes, barns and the main office of Clarence Manley’s Auto Auction. Soon after that storm several residences were flooded with rising water. Those weeklong rains damaged the home of Fred William Hadley on Popular Street. Water also rushed down South Presley Street and Church Street.

The L&N Railroad made traveling a lot easier by building a crossing over the railroad at north Presley Street.

For some reason, several moonshiners became active during the fall. But local authorities didn’t take long to raid stills near Jack Spring Road and North Escambia. Atmore police chief Houston Wolfe led the raid of the local “moonshine factory.”

The ECHS Blue Devil football team finished the season with an undefeated 10-0 record, capturing the Region 1 championship. The team was coached by CP Floyd and assisted by Floyd Adams and Bill Gandy. Adams would go on to capture baseball championships at Tate High School and Jeff Davis Community College, and Gandy would score outstanding records coaching several teams in nearby Florida schools.

More next week.

Lowell McGill can be reached at