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Useful Notes: Atlanta

Atlanta is the capital of Georgia and its largest city, and the largest metropolitan area in the American South. note  The Coca-Cola Company (Pepsi is blasphemy)note , Delta Air Lines, Chick-fil-A, and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have headquarters here. Turner Broadcasting, which owns CNN, is also based there. Atlanta can roughly be divided to areas within and outside the Perimeter (Interstate 285), a beltway highway that is known for insane traffic.

Atlanta has at least seventeen streets named with variations on Peachtree note note . The city hosted the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, in which East African marathon runners collapsed with heatstroke.note  The city infamously listed Olive Garden as the best Italian restaurant in the city in the guidebooks for said Olympic Games. Right by Centennial Park is the Georgia Aquarium, the world's largest indoor one.

Hometown of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and was nicknamed "the city too busy to hate." It also prides itself on being the epitome of the "New South," with modern architecture and industry. Atlanta can be used as a "But Not Too Southern" setting, a good choice for artists who want a story in the South without using the tropes of the Deep South or Sweet Home Alabama.

The city's official crest portrays a phoenix, in reference to being the only city in the United States to have been completely destroyed by war, and referencing the manner in which it was destroyed: burned during General Sherman's march to the sea (safety advice: do not say anything even remotely nice about Sherman, lest you incur the locals' wrath). The phoenix also neatly symbolizes the city's return to prominence after the war.

Rappers call it the ATL, after the airport code for the busiest airport in the world. Said airport is city owned, and the city is not allowed to make any profit off its operation. In addition to being the busiest airport, Delta's hub is the largest single airline operation of any airport in the world.note  ATL also is a major focus city for Southwest, inherited from their recent merger with AirTran who maintained their principal hub there. It seems like a joke when discussion about the city inevitably leads to the airport, but the scope of the operation there is really unlike anything else. This is especially due to the disproportionate amount of connecting traffic it handles (i.e. passengers just passing through who aren't actually originating or arriving there). Other cities with similar megahubs such as Chicago-O'Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth have much larger amounts of local passengers. An old joke says that when you die, it doesn't matter whether you go to heaven or hell because you'll connect in Atlanta either way.

Many old-fashioned Southerners detest Atlanta. The city is an upstart by Southern metropolis standards, founded in 1837 and incorporated ten years later. Its perceived cultural blandness, relatively liberal politicsnote , incessant self-promotion, and seemingly undeserved prosperity grate on Southern sensibilities. This actually has a fitting analogy: Georgia is the so-called "Empire State of the South"... and Atlanta bears the same relation to the rest of Georgia that New York City bears to the rest of the Empire State. In fact, one common joke is that Georgia is two states: metro Atlanta and everywhere else.

Atlanta is home to several major professional sports teams:
  • The Braves are a Major League Baseball team that started in Boston, moved to Milwaukee, and finally ended up in Atlanta in 1966. They've won exactly one World Series in each city (1914, 1957, and 1995). Its players have included Hank Aaron who was the Home Run Champion to top Babe Ruth, and it was formerly owned by Ted Turner, and as such had most of their games broadcast on cable station TBS from 1973 to 2007. They did very well and were popular enough in the 1990s to be nicknamed "America's Team"note , but entered a slump in the 2000s. Even during their long streak of Division pennants, they were the poster-child for Every Year They Fizzle Out, netting one World Series win in 14 playoff appearances. In 2010, longtime coach Bobby Cox, known for being A Father to His Men (and being one of the most ejected coaches in the MLB) retired. If everything goes to plan though they plan to leave for a new stadium in Cobb County with the start of the 2017 season
  • The Falcons are an NFL team, historically mediocre with occasional strong seasons, and one Super Bowl appearance in 1999. It was the team quarterback Michael Vicknote  played for when he was exposed for running dog fights. Since 2008, the Falcons have become one of the NFL's more solid teams despite a lack of postseason success.
  • The Hawks are an NBA team that used to have a logo that looked suspiciously like Pac-Man. Another middle-of-the-pack team, also owned by Ted Turner for a few years. Their most notable player in recent history was Dominique Wilkins, nine time All-Star, two time Slam Dunk champion, and often cast as one of Michael Jordan's Worthy Opponents.
  • The Dream are a WNBA team founded in 2008; in their first season, they made a heroic effort to be the worst team in the history of ever, finishing 4-30. They got better.
  • Atlanta had two different NHL teamsnote , both of which ultimately left for Canada. The Flamesnote , founded in 1972, were enjoying modest success on the ice, but couldn't consistently fill the Omni, nor could they find stable ownership in town, so the team was sold to Nelson Skalbania and moved to Calgary in 1980, keeping the Flames name. The Thrashersnote , a 1999 expansion team, also struggled at the gate, and internal strife among the ownership group prevented the team from building on its lone division titlenote . Again with no willing suitors to keep the team in town, the Thrashers were sold to True North Sports and Entertainmentnote in 2011, relocated to Winnipeg and renamed the Jets.
  • Suburban Atlanta is also the home of Atlanta Motor Speedway, a legacy NASCAR track.

Those with more geeky inclinations can easily find a place in Atlanta. Georgia Institute of Technology (aka Georgia Tech) is one of the largest and most prestigious polytechnical universities in the country is located right in Midtown. Downtown is overtaken every Labor Day weekend by the massive celebration of all things genre known as Dragon*Con.


Atlanta in fiction:

Shows based in Atlanta:
  • The internet comedy group Dormtainment live in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, in fact at least two of their videos require you to have some knowledge of the Atlanta area to get it (though you could probably figure it out): "Straight Outta Dunwoody" (a rap song about an upper-middle class suburb) and "Bday Bash" (annual concert held by a radio station in Atlanta).
  • Good Eats is primarily filmed in Alpharetta and Marietta, Georgia.
  • The Neal Boortz Show
  • The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, on Bravo.

Creators originally from or based in Atlanta:

Musical acts based in or originally from Atlanta:
  • Atlanta has a huge rap hip-hop scene, perhaps best known for spearheading the "Dirty South" movement, one of rap's most popular. A vast amount, possibly a majority nowadays, of rappers come from Atlanta, which produces a wide variety of acts such as Soulja Boy, Ludacris, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, T.I., Future, Keri Hilson, Jeezy, Waka Flocka Flame, Lil' Jon, Rasheeda, Killer Mike, Crime Mob, Ying Yang Twins, TLC, Jazze Pha, Monica, Childish Gambino, Dem Franchize Boys, Young Dro, Rich Homie Quan, Lil' Scrappy, Ciara, Gorilla Zoe, Raven-Symon, Youngbloodz, Travis Porter, Migos, I-20 and Yung Joc.
  • Hip-hop/soul band Outkast
  • Usher
  • Atlanta-based producer Bill Lowery launched the careers of Ray Stevens, Jerry Reed, and others.
  • Sevendust
  • The Black Crowes
  • Cat Power
  • Janelle Mone
  • Canadian Justin Bieber moved to Atlanta to forward his music career.
  • The Indigo Girls grew up in Decatur and started performing locally when they were students at Emory University.
  • Mastodon
  • India.Arie moved to Atlanta when she was 13 and still lives here.
  • Sugarland


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alternative title(s): Atlanta
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