Made up of the southern states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, the Deep South is one of the most distinctive parts of the USA. Steeped in musical traditions, history, culture, sports and unique attractions, perhaps the greatest attribute of the home of jazz and blues is the warmth of its people.
Music of the Deep South
As you make your way through the green valleys of Georgia and the semi-arid tablelands of Alabama, expect America’s south to welcome you into honky-tonk bars, music halls and downtown diners. Music lovers will be truly at home in this iconic area of the USA. Chart the progression of Americana in Nashville, where mid-century hillbilly gave way to a more refined 1960s sound before plunging into the alternative rock scene of the 1990s. In Memphis, Elvis still reigns, while New Orleans dances to the rhythms of jazz, blues and rock & roll. This beating cultural heart of the Deep South combines weekly festivals and colourful parades with mouthwatering creole food and the colonial architecture of the famous French Quarter to create a carnival atmosphere that has to be seen, or heard, to be believed.
Nashville music scene
Amazing landscapes; unique culture
For a truly laid-back experience, a luxury cruise on the Mississippi takes in the history of the region's riverside plantation homes. There are also the leafy cities of Charleston and Savannah, both gateways to several key sites from the American Civil War, including Fort Sumter – the pentagon-shaped island where the first shots of the war were fired. Alternatively, the sweeping curves of Blue Ridge Parkway (so-called because of the blue isoprene haze released by its trees) take you through North Carolina’s mountainous east while its coast treats you to a classic combination of sand, sea and some excellent surf.
Dining in these southern states is anything but ordinary. A complex history involving Native Americans, African slaves and the European colonies has led to a host of cultural influences shaping everything from the architecture to, of course, the food. Acadians in Louisiana left their mark in the warming stews, succulent crawfish and Cajun spices it's known for. In Georgia, locals still count grits as part of their staple diet, but it's the fried chicken and biscuits that you shouldn't overlook. In Mississippi, where the catfish reigns, soul food is also on the menu, through recipes handed down from the cotton plantations. The Deep South is about all intense flavours, cultural traditions, and most of the time, eating with your hands.
Cajun Creole Jambalaya