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by Erin Z. Bass Today is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This deadly hurricane made landfall as a Category 3 the morning of August 29, 2005, near Buras, Louisiana. Almost 2,000 people died as a result, making Katrina the deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1928. Some residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still displaced after the storm and may be remembering Katrina in other locations across the country today. For those who have moved back to New Orleans and towns like Biloxi (pictured are "steps to nowhere," all that remain from a house located across from the beach there) and Gulfport, Mississippi, it's been a week of remembering and rebirth. President Obama will give remarks at Xavier University this afternoon regarding the anniversary, and a commemoration and march were held in the lower Ninth Ward earlier this morning. This afternoon in Gulfport, Gov. Haley Barbour hosts a memorial event. Exhibits related to the storm were also announced this week, including The Historic New Orleans Collection's "Katrina + 5: Documenting Disaster" on display now and the Louisiana State Museum's "Living With Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond," which includes one man's rescue boat and Fats Domino's storm-ravaged piano, opening Oct. 26. No matter

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We're excited to announce our new advertising partnership with Delta Blues Iced Tea Company this afternoon! It all started when we saw their "Deep South Tea Punch" online and got in touch with founder Leslie McKinney Bass so that we could try their product and tell our readers about it. We loved what we tasted, and an article (scroll down to "Sip of Summer") on Deep South earlier this summer resulted. Now, we're ready to introduce an online advertising and social media campaign with Delta Blues. You can view their banner ad on our site now (refresh if what you see is our Summer Reading List ad as they are rotating) and will soon start to see messages on our Facebook and Twitter accounts about the company. While we disclose that this is an ad campaign, we hope you'll also see it as an opportunity to find out about, and try, a great Southern product. A native of Nashville, Bass now lives in Atlanta and her tea punch is made from her grandmother's recipe, then infused with flavors like spearmint, peach, lemongrass and pineapple. As we said in our original article, "Like a fine wine, Delta Blues’ punch has layers of

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by Erin Z. Bass Deep South has been on a press trip in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach all weekend with the Traveling Mamas and a few other bloggers. We've been celebrating life along the Gulf Coast, along with the news that beaches are open and the water's fine! We started the weekend with a tweetup at Live Bait at The Wharf on Friday night, followed by breakfast at Tacky Jack's on Saturday morning and a full day of activities that included visits to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, Waterville USA and kayaking with Alabama Kayak Adventures. The amazing meals continued throughout the weekend with lunch at famed seafood joint King Neptune's, drinks and apps at Lulu's, dinner at Wintzell's Oyster House and breakfast family-style at The Hangout. Our accommodations at Phoenix All Suites Hotel West were condo-sized with all the amenities and service of a hotel. Managed by Brett Robinson, the hotel is only one of many affordable places to stay on the island. Current "hot deals" on the realty company's website include free tickets to Hank Williams Jr.'s Rowdy Friends Tour next month, Labor Day weekend specials and a Girls' Getaway package starting at $171.57 per person. But rather than telling

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by Vanessa K. Eccles In the night of the South, There is a song that is played. That is made with wings, not with mouth, And with passing hours doesn’t fade. Every day at dark, Their music begins to play. It’s the night’s lovely mark, That reminds me of home when I’m away. A never-ending song of summer From these tiny creatures of God. They sing a beautiful little number, While they’re nestled in the sod. Often times I love to sit, And listen to the nature’s track. In a world that somehow I fit, Although, often I lack. In this world of God’s own hand, He left us a piece of Heaven above. Nature’s own perfect band, That reminds us of His love. When peace escapes you And city life becomes long, Return home to the place you knew, And listen for the cricket’s song. Vanessa K. Eccles is currently an English major at Troy University in Dothan, Alabama, as well as a former intern at Deep South. She completed her first novel last year and is working on her second.

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Deep South's planned celebration of the 50th anniversary of "To Kill A Mockingbird" is official and will take place in Lafayette, Louisiana, on September 25. Our local Barnes & Noble has graciously agreed to host the event, and we owe a big thanks to Community Relations Manager Herman Fuselier! We'll kick off the Saturday celebration with a panel, including University of Louisiana at Lafayette English professor and Southern lit scholar Mary Ann Wilson, in discussion with several other locals and those in the legal profession. Other events will include readings from the book, children's activities, a theatrical performance by local high school students and a possible showing of the movie. (We are still working out the logistics for the movie, but hope to either show it from the roof of the bookstore drive-in style or indoors.) Haven't read "To Kill A Mockingbird" or don't know what happened to your copy? Books will be available for purchase at the event, and publisher Harper Collins is also providing us with a few goodies to give away. We'd also like to thank the law firm of Edwards Stefanski Zaunbrecher, located in Crowley, Louisiana, for signing on as a sponsor. Their support will help with costs

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Cool off in some of the South's beloved public pools. by Erin Z. Bass As heat advisories across the South continue today, with temperatures over 100 degrees in several places, Deep South suggests a surefire way to cool off. Head out to your local community pool and dive in! Community pools have long been a respite from the heat in summertime, and I remember spending many a day at the "Town Club" pool while growing up. Most cities have at least one, but some, like Austin, Texas, have many to choose from. Austin's Parks and Recreation Department's Aquatic Division operates 43 public pool facilities, including Deep Eddy, the city's much-beloved public pool. The oldest swimming pool in Texas, Deep Eddy began as a swimming hole in the Colorado River. The concrete pool was built in 1915 and became the centerpiece of a resort that included a bathing beach, zip line and diving platform. Now owned by the city, Deep Eddy continues to be a favorite Austin swimming hole today, fed with clear, cold water from a hand-dug well. Proof of Deep Eddy's status in the state? The pool has a sweet tea vodka and record label named after it. (For more photos of

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by Erin Z. Bass Some Gulf waters may still be closed to fishing, but in Cypremort Point, Louisiana, the blue crabs in the bay are biting. We caught over two dozen this past Saturday with nets hung from the wharf and turkey necks as bait. This usually means a crab boil is in our future after sunset, but this time, a camp guest proposed a new idea. My brother's girlfriend's dad (take a second to process that) offered to put the crabs on the barbecue. We took him up on the idea and may not want to eat boiled crabs again. With the backs off, gradoux cleaned out and the shells basted with Cajun seasoning, the crabs soak up some smoky flavor from the pit and peeling them to get to the meat inside is worth every minute. (Scroll down to get the recipe.) Barbecued Crabs 1-2 dozen fresh, live crabs Cajun seasoning blended with butter or oil or favorite brand of Cajun basting sauce Place crabs on ice to shock so that backs can be removed. Using a knife, remove the underside of the crab and clean out gills and guts. Baste with sauce, then place back side down on a hot pit. After

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Summer Reading List The best beach reads, mysteries, chick lit & new releases from down South. A Soft Place to Land Susan Rebecca White Billed as the next book club pick by author of The Help Kathryn Stockett, Susan Rebecca White’s follow up to Bound South spans nearly two decades in the lives of Atlanta sisters Ruthie and Julia. After their parents die in a place crash on their way to see the Grand Canyon, the girls must deal with the emotions of resentment, anger and jealousy while healing from the loss, searching for love and beginning their careers. Their journey will take them from their familiar home in Atlanta to bohemian San Francisco, a mountain town in Virginia, the campus of Berkeley and lofts in Brooklyn, until another shocking accident changes everything once again. Backseat Saints Joshilyn Jackson If you read Joshilyn Jackson’s gods in Alabama, you’ll remember the character of Rose Mae Lolley. She was supposed to be just a minor girlfriend, but ended up taking on a life of her own and is now the star of Backseat Saints, which comes out this month. Rose Mae, now Ro Grandee, is a Texas housewife with a husband who’s as abusive as her father. But

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