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Useful Notes / Atlanta

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Well you can drop me off on Peachtree,
I got to feel that Georgia sun,
And the women there in Atlanta
They make you awfully glad you come!

"Do you remember how Atlanta was way more relevant back before the 1996 Olympics? I do. That ended pretty quickly."

Atlanta is both the largest-populated city and the state capital of Georgia, and the largest metropolitan area in the Deep Southnote , best known for being the current center of the Hip-Hop world. The Coca-Cola Company (Pepsi is North Carolina 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, Cartoon Network, TBS and TNT) is also based there (having grown out of an independent TV station on channel 17). Atlanta can roughly be divided to areas within and outside Interstate 285, a beltway highway that is known for insane traffic and referred to by locals as "The Perimeter". Atlanta also has the busiest airport in the world and if you have flown in or through the US more than a couple of times, you will have had a layover there at least once.

Atlanta has at least seventeen streets named with variations on Peachtreenote . 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 Olympics. Right by Centennial Park is the Georgia Aquarium, the world's largest indoor one. Due to its location in the South, Atlanta rarely receives snow and is famous for (from an outsider's perspective) overreacting to even hints of incoming snow; two inchesnote  of snow in January 2014 led to the whole city shutting down for nearly a week, epic traffic jams resulting in many people stuck in traffic for 24 hours, and several deaths.note 

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.

It was originally founded in 1837 as the end-point of a railroad line to Chattanooga, for passengers and freight to be transferred from that rail line to a train to Savannah. This intended function was reflected in the city's original name: Terminus, a name with which an early-to-mid 1990s street-traffic-control software system (home-grown by Georgia Tech's computer-science department) was christened as an abbeviation for Traffic Event Response & Management for Intelligent Navigation Using Signals, which at the time was considered state-of-the-art, that adjusted traffic-light timing on-the-fly to adapt to fluctuations in traffic congestion on Atlanta's streets, developed explicitly as part of preparations for hosting the 1994 Super Bowl and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. It worked better than expected.note 

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: be very careful about broaching this subject with the locals, lest you incur their wrath; politics notwithstanding, the destruction of Atlanta is still a sore subject even today). The phoenix also neatly symbolizes the city's return to prominence after the war.

The reason that Sherman's wrath descended on Atlanta is that, during the war, the city was the South's most strategic railway junction. Three rail lines (basically tracing the same lines as today's Interstate highways running through the city, see below) made it possible to move troops and supplies to pretty much anywhere in the Confederacy east of the Mississippi that was reachable by railway. In one particularly striking instance of Atlanta's importance, General James Longstreet's entire corps was routed through Atlanta in September 1863 as an emergency reinforcement to the Confederate Army of Tennessee, playing a key role in the South's victory at Chickamauga (at the northern end of Georgia, a few miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee). Recognizing the strategic importance of Atlanta to the Confederate war effort, Sherman made it the primary target of his spring-summer 1864 campaign. The Confederates were just as aware of how important Atlanta was, and fought fiercely all the way down from the Tennessee border to the city itself, finally being forced to evacuate Atlanta after a string of bloody battles around the city and a siege lasting two months. The Battle of Atlanta (actually fought near Decatur to the east of the city), on July 22, 1864, one of the biggest engagements of the campaign, is commemorated in the Atlanta Cyclorama, which was at one time the world's largest painting.

Rappers call it the ATL, after the airport code for the busiest airport in the world. Said airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, is city owned, and the city is not allowed to make any profit off its operation.note  In addition to being the busiest airport, it is the home base and largest hub of Delta Air Lines, whose presence at Hartsfield-Jackson constitutes 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 in the South says that when you die, it doesn't matter whether your soul is destined for Heaven or Hell, no matter where you're assigned for the afterlife, the connecting flight will inevitably have a two-hour layover in Atlanta. This joke is also considered common knowledge among airline pilots and flight-attendants in the 'States, and anyone who has worked in a travel-agency, or members of travel-agents' families are also likely to be somewhat familiar with the joke. Seriously, if you tell this joke to any flight-attendant working in the United States, they're almost guaranteed to laugh, or at least chuckle and give a little nod. Atlanta has always been a key transportation hub; as explained above, it was one of the most strategic locations in the South during the American Civil War because of the railway lines that met there. Today, three Interstate Highways, numbers I-20 (running west-east), I-75 (northwest-southeast) and I-85 (northeast-southwest), meet each other at Atlanta, connecting the heartland of the Southeast with the Midwest and the East Coast and Northeast, and making the city one of the most important hubs in the Interstate network (which also helps explain why traffic on the Perimeter is so awful).

When Delta faced economic troubles starting with the 2002 recession and ending with its 2008 exit from bankruptcy, the state government looked for ways to diversify the economy. note  They decided on trying to boost film production and signed the first incentives program in 2002 as an experiment before substantially beefing it up due to its success in 2008. Georgia passed California as the top state for film and television in 2016 and in 2018 was second in feature film productions behind Canada. The state, in particular, is a favorite filming location of the world's current most popular film franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Most of the films since the 2014 production of Ant-Man have been filmed at Pinewood Studios in the Atlanta area. Also filmed around Atlanta is the Netflix smash hit Stranger Things, which was actually rewritten to be set in Indiana rather than Montauk, New York because suburban Atlanta looks more like the Midwest than Long Island, but the setting had to be Northern for a variety of reasons (ranging from casting to the desire to avoid the South's built-in horror tropes).

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, liberal politics note , 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; however, the poor performances of its pro sports teams, with only three championships among its major teams in over a half-century, as well as the transient nature of the metro area's residents has given the city a reputation as a bad sports town:

  • 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 four World Series, two in their former home cities (1914 and 1957 in Boston and Milwaukee respectively) and two in Atlanta (1995 and 2021). 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 manager Bobby Cox, known for being A Father to His Men (and being one of the most ejected managers in MLB) retired. In 2017, the Braves opened a new ballpark in suburban Cobb County, Truist Park.
  • The Falcons are an NFL team, historically mediocre with occasional strong seasons, and appearances in Super Bowls XXXIII and LI. It was the team quarterback Michael Vick played for when he was exposed for running dog fights. From 2008 to 2012, the Falcons were one of the NFL's more solid teams despite a lack of postseason success. Super Bowl LI will be a game that lives in infamy for the Falcons after the Patriots erased a 25-point deficit in the fourth quarter to put the Super Bowl into overtime for the first time in its history, with the Patriots scoring the winning touchdown on their first (and the only) overtime possession.
  • The Hawks are an NBA team that have a logo that looks 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. The Dream shared a home with the Hawks for most of their existence; however, the WNBA team moved to a smaller arena in suburban College Park, sharing the venue with the Hawks' G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks.
  • Atlanta had two different NHL teams, both of which ultimately left for Canada. The Flamesnote , founded in 1972, enjoyed modest success on the ice but had a bad reputation of Every Year They Fizzle Out come the Stanley Cup playoffs. After the novelty of ice hockey in the Deep South wore off, the Flames 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, struggled both on and off the ice, especially after the infamous season-cancelling 2004-05 lockout; they were not helped by apathetic owners who cared more about the Hawks than they did the Thrashers. Again with no willing suitors to keep the team in town, the Thrashers were sold to True North Sports and Entertainment in 2011, relocated to Winnipeg and renamed the Jets. While there are still (mostly older) fans of the Flames in Atlanta despite their move to Alberta over four decades ago, the Jets receive absolutely no love from many Atlanta hockey fans.note  Most hockey traditionalists, fueled in part by their general animosity towards NHL teams in the Sun Belt, want to permanently write off Atlanta as a lost cause, since the city lost both of its NHL teams to Canada. However, some Atlanta hockey fans remain optimistic that the league will eventually give the Peach State a third shot, should the right opportunity arise. Since March 2023, rumors have been circulating that the NHL is looking to either expand or relocate to both Atlanta and Houston (with the latter being a likely landing spot for the Coyotes if their attempts to stay in Arizona ultimately fail), and there was a proposal in April 2023 by a large metro area car dealer to build a mixed-use development anchored by an NHL-sized arena near Alpharetta. The Atlanta metro area still has a minor league hockey team in the ECHL, the Atlanta (nee Gwinnett) Gladiators, based in Duluth since 2003, having outlived both the Flames and Thrashers combined.
  • Atlanta United FC is probably the exception to the rule. They began play in Major League Soccer in 2017. The team is owned by Falcons owner Arthur Blank and shares the new Falcons' stadium. They won the MLS Cup playoffs in their sophomore season, broke attendance records several times over, and are now the most valuable soccer team in the United States. In September 2023, the United States Soccer Federation announced its intentions of moving its headquarters from Chicago to Atlanta, ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
  • Henry County to the south of the city is the home of Atlanta Motor Speedway, a legacy NASCAR track.

While Atlanta may have bad luck with its professional sports teams, the city is often considered the de facto capital of College Football. The College Football Hall of Fame is located in Atlanta, across the street from Centennial Olympic Park. Atlanta is home to the SEC Championship Game, having been played there since 1994note , and the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the member bowls of the "New Years Six" and every three years, host to one of the two College Football Playoff semifinal games; during the Bowl Championship Series era, the Peach Bowl was one of the highest attended and highest paying non-BCS bowl games. Atlanta also hosts the annual Celebration Bowl, the de facto national championship among historically black colleges and universities in Division I football. The Metro Atlanta area is home to two FBS schools; the highly prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology (aka Georgia Tech) in midtown play in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while Georgia State University in downtown play in the Sun Belt. Additionally, there is Kennesaw State University in nearby Marietta, who will make the FCS-FBS transition in 2024 when they join Conference USA. However, the most popular college football program among Atlantans doesn't call the city home—that honor goes to the University of Georgia, located 70 miles northeast in Athens and play in the Southeastern Conference.

Those with more geeky inclinations can easily find a place in Atlanta. Downtown is overtaken every Labor Day weekend by the massive celebration of all things geek known as Dragon Con. MomoConnote  is a newer and smaller but fast-growing multi-genre con which takes place around the Memorial Day weekend. MomoCon was originally held at Georgia Tech's Student Center, hosted by the Institute's anime club and offered free attendance, with merchandise sales raising funds for future events; however, increasing attendance as well as rising costs forced the con to start charging a membership fee and move to larger spaces, eventually moving to the Georgia World Congress Center in 2015. While both Dragon Con and MomoCon are similar in terms of featured guests and events, the former skews older and focuses more on sci-fi and fantasy while the latter is more anime-focused and skews towards a younger audience.note . And the weirdness central that is [adult swim] (and the anime/action animation central that is Toonami) originates from an old Turner Broadcasting facility on Williams Street note .

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).
  • The current version of Family Feud moved here in 2011, to accommodate host Steve Harvey's other commitments (including being a radio host and having his own talk show); it previously taped in Hollywood and at Universal Studios in Orlando, and will be moving back to Hollywood in the near-future.
  • Good Eats is primarily filmed in Alpharetta and Marietta, Georgia.
  • The Neal Boortz Show
  • The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, on Bravo.
  • Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta on VH1

Shows and films shot in Atlanta, but set elsewhere:

Creators originally from or based in Atlanta:

Musical acts based in or originally from Atlanta: