American Rhythms Fly Drive
Louisiana • Alabama • Tennessee • Mississippi
Louisiana • Alabama • Tennessee • Mississippi
New Orleans-The French Quarters heart and soul is a must-see, boasting a statue of Andrew Jackson at its center and a ragtag collection of artists and fortune-tellers fringing its perimeter. Its flanked by the filligreed Pontalba apartments, site of the Streetcar-Named-Desire-inspired Stella! shouting contest held during the annual Tennessee Williams Festival.
Memphis -For the best views of the Peabody Hotel's famous duck march, arrive 30 minutes before their 11am arrival and 5pm departure from the grand hotel's lobby fountain.
Nashville-Order a seasonal favorite from the eclectic menu at The Mad Platter in historic Germantown, and enjoy the ambiance of renaissance charm in a cozy atmosphere.
Arrive in New Orleans, one of the most exotic cities in the world, famous for riverboats, jazz, Creole cuisine and a seemingly endless parade of festivals. On arrival, pick up your car and proceed to your hotel. The remainder of your evening is at leisure. You may want to take this opportunity to enjoy a dinner at one of New Orleans’ many famous Cajun or Creole restaurants.
The day is at your leisure to explore New Orleans on your own. Take a walking tour of the Vieux Carre, popularly known as the French Quarter, a place of narrow streets and iron gateways, wonderful old buildings and beautiful courtyards. Visit Jackson Square, Royal Street, Bourbon Street and the many museums. Take a full day bayou and swamp tour or enjoy a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi with dinner and dancing to a live jazz band.
Drive north through Mississippi and the highlands of Alabama with dark, fertile soil, perfect for growing cotton. Stay overnight in Tuscaloosa, the “Black Warrior” town, established by Creek Indians and the state capital for 20 years. Many of the city’s antebellum homes can be found in the Druid City District near Queen City Avenue. Overnight in Birmingham.
A must-see before departing Birmingham is the Vulcan. Standing 56 feet tall from toe to spear point, the Vulcan is the world’s largest cast iron statue and considered one of the most memorable works of civic art in the United States. Designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti and cast from local iron in 1904, it has overlooked the urban landscape of Alabama’s largest city since the 1930s. Continue to Nashville, Music City, USA, known world-wide as the “Country Music Capital.”
A full day to discover the variety of attractions Nashville has to offer, such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, Opryland U.S.A. and the world-famous Printer's Alley.
Depart the capital of country and western music for the “Home the Blues,“ Memphis. This city combines the charms of the Old South with the exciting pace of a modern metropolis. You may wish to tour downtown Memphis with its famous Beale Street, followed by a visit to Elvis Presley's palatial home, Graceland.
See history come alive at Vicksburg National Military Park, one of the most heavily monumented parks in the world. The park commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg in 1863 and includes over 1,300 monuments, markers and plaques, a 16-mile tour road, a restored Union gunboat, and a national cemetery, the nation’s largest burial site of Civil War Union soldiers and sailors with graves totaling over 17,000.
Today drive south on the Natchez Trace Parkway which evolved from an Indian trail into a post road and pioneer highway and on to Natchez, the oldest settlement in the state of Mississippi, where the meeting of old and new is the essence of its charm. You may want to visit many of the plantations and homes in the Natchez area such as Burn, Dunleith, Melrose, Monmouth or Longwood. Longwood is reputedly the largest octagonal house in the country; construction began around 1858 but was never completed.
Today you will travel southward back into Louisiana through Alexandria, Ville Platte and Opelousas to Lafayette, the heart of Cajun Country where the Acadians, or Cajuns started arriving in this swampy area in 1765. Today these French American's are famous for their joie de vivre which is reflected in their lively dancing, music and spicy food. On arrival you may want to enjoy a walking tour of downtown to discover landmark buildings, or take a short drive to Acadian Village overlooking the bayou and filled with authentically restored Cajun homes and churches.
A short drive from Lafayette takes you to New Iberia and Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco sauce. Other attractions include Jungle Garden, lush with tropical plants, and Bird City, a sanctuary filled with flurries of snow-white egrets. Continue to Morgan City, the "Shrimp Capital of the World" and Houma, where you may want to take some time for an optional boat tour into the deep swamp and bayou to see alligators and other wildlife. Following the scenic route, and perhaps stopping at Terre Bonne or Southdown Plantation, you will arrive in New Orleans.
Return your car at the airport before your departure flight.