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Top Stories of 2010

Deep South Magazine officially launched online in January of 2010, so this month we’re celebrating our first anniversary! As we reflect over the past year, we’re proud of the content we cranked out, both on our website and on our blog. One of our goals here is to keep up with top news stories that affect people living in the South, and there was no shortage of news in 2010. From the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl to the massive oil spill, 50th anniversary of the publication of “To Kill A Mockingbird” and filming of “The Help” movie in Mississippi, 2010’s stories were compelling to say the least, and we spent a lot of time following them. In the case of the oil spill, we immediately created a listing of ways Southerners could help in their respective states and reported straight from the sand in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach throughout the summer to let readers know when beaches were open.

We plan to do no less, and hopefully a lot more, in 2011. Here’s to another great year for the South and for Deep South!

P.S. We welcome story ideas for the coming year! E-mail erin@deepsouthmag if there’s something you’d like to see on our site in 2011.

Deep South‘s Top Stories of 2010

From the website …

“Back to the Beach” – Before the July Fourth weekend, we ran a travel story for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, asking readers to support the beaches they’ve visited in the past, despite the presence of oil. In August, we visited Gulf Shores and Orange Beach again and posted an update, “Oil Free Shores,” reporting that beaches were open and no oil was visible. Also driving visitors to the Gulf Coast toward the end of the year was the long-awaited opening of Biloxi’s Ohr-O’Keefe Museum.

Summer Reading List & Interview With Joshilyn Jackson – Our debut list of the best beach reads, mysteries, chick lit and new releases from down South was a huge hit and will definitely be an annual thing for us! We paired the list with an interview with Georgia author Joshilyn Jackson, whose latest book “Backseat Saints” was released during the summer, and thanks to the cooperation of many of the authors and publishers on the list, we also gave away copies of almost all the titles to lucky readers!

“Don’t Get Your Panties In a Wad” & Name That Shirt Contest – In June, we announced a “Name That Shirt” contest with North Carolina company SweeTea T-Shirts. We told readers about Susan Bashford and Karen Hall’s line of shirts printed with funny Southern sayings in a previous story, and they got the chance to name a future SweeTea shirt by submitting their favorite sayings and then voting on the winner. Out of the 150 sayings submitted, “Sweet As Molasses” emerged victorious and is now available printed on a brown tee.

“Coolin’ Down in the North Georgia Mountains” – Summer of 2010 was a scorcher, so when freelance writer Deanne Kuder proposed a story on her vacation to Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, boasting cooler temperatures and refreshing waterfalls, we said yes! Readers were also fascinated by Helen, Georgia’s transformation into an Alpine village and have requested a follow-up story on the town’s Oktoberfest.

“Jackson Gets Some Help” – Our biggest story of the year, in terms of popularity and star power, was the filming of “The Help” movie in Jackson, Mississippi, in September. We spent the day checking out filming locations around town, talking to residents and watching Emma Stone and Chris Lowell (playing characters Skeeter and Stuart) shoot a first date scene at Mayflower Cafe. “Help” author Kathryn Stockett was also on set. (Emma Stone pic at right courtesy of Jackson photographer Ron Blaylock.)

“Deep Fried Paradise” – After hearing about the State Fair of Texas’s tendency to deep fry every food imaginable, our intern Amanda Burleigh  couldn’t pass this story up.

Haunted South – With some of the country’s spookiest locations found in the South, we couldn’t wait for Halloween. Our special section included a slideshow of attractions, Southern-themed costume ideas, firsthand accounts of some creepy tours, like Montgomery, Alabama’s, Haunted Hearse Tour, and even a few ghost stories.

“Arkansas’ New State Dish” – Possibly overshadowed by some of the year’s larger stories, Arkansas’ finding of its own state dish was big news for residents. History points to “cheese dip” as originating in the state, and the first annual World Championship Cheese Dip Competition took on the task in October of finding out who makes it best. Thanks to travel writer Kat Robinson for reporting on this monumental event for us.

Holiday Gifts From the South – After finding so many great Southern products throughout the year, we decided to create a gift guide of Southern-themed gifts for Christmas. Our four galleries of ideas included everything from homemade items to food products, books and t-shirts, encouraging our readers to “shop Southern” for Christmas.

From the blog …

“Saints Luv Reigns”– The New Orleans Saints’ road to the Superbowl was the feel-good story of 2010, and media around the world took notice.

“Mobile’s Mardi Gras Secrets” – While New Orleans is known for throwing the biggest Mardi Gras party around, Mobile actually hosted the first celebration in 1703, 15 years before The Big Easy. Mobile photographers Meggan and Jeff Haller of Keyhole Photo have begun documenting the city’s Mardi Gras goings on – both its public and more secret aspects – and shared some of their photos and findings with us last season. (Photo at right courtesy of Keyhole Photo.)

Roadfood Festival/Tennessee Williams Festival – The Crescent City packed a double whammy of a weekend in March with the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival and the Roadfood Festival happening simultaneously in 2010. Inside the Royal Sonesta, literary greats from Edward Albee to Sweet Potato Queen Jill Conner Browne gathered, while outside vendors served up the best road food in the country up and down Royal Street.

“Mississippi’s New Trails” – In May, the state of Mississippi announced two new trails, the Mississippi Culinary Trail and Mississippi Agri Tours Trail. Divided by region – Hills, Delta, Pines, Capital River and Coastal – the culinary trail includes everything from groceries to drive-ins, juke joints and bakeries. We’ll definitely be traveling this trail in 2011.

“LemonAid for the Gulf” – Kids across the South made lemonade to help wildlife affected by the oil spill last summer.

50th Anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird – Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and we got to work planning a special celebration in our community. On September 25, Deep South, along with Barnes & Noble, presented ” A Community Celebration of To Kill A Mockingbird” with a children’s reading, panel discussion of the book and its relevance today and dramatic readings from the text.

Gone With the Wind Viewing – We couldn’t let Turner Classic Movies’ showing of “Gone With the Wind” in September pass without a viewing party, so we gathered all of our Facebook and Twitter friends for an evening of commentary and trivia on a true Southern classic that has stood the test of time.

“Scottsboro Boys Hit Broadway” – While it was happening in New York City and nowhere near the South, “The Scottsboro Boys” musical’s October opening on Broadway was big news because it brought one of the most important events in the Civil Rights Movement to a mainstream audience, who continues to give the show rave reviews. (The show calendar on broadway.com lists dates through February 27.)

“New Year’s Drops” – Closing out the year was our list of Southern cities and the items they drop on New Year’s Eve. From pickles to acorns, MoonPies and pelicans, the South’s New Year’s celebrations certainly don’t lack creativity and are worth staying up ’til midnight.

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