Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Underground Atlanta — Airport

Atlanta history exhibit
between concourse B and C.
            I’ve moved around so much in my lifetime, there’s not one place I can attribute many years to — except maybe the Atlanta Airport. I’ve been through this transportation hub in the heart of Georgia so many times they hand me my mail when I arrive.
            The Hartsfield-Jackson Airport has been ranked the world’s busiest airport. According to 2012 statistics, it services 260,000 passengers a day and almost one million flights a year. The old joke used to be, when you go to heaven you must first change planes in Atlanta.
            What’s weird about this is I actually enjoy visiting my second home. I know where the good restaurants are, where to find the best reading material, where to sit and enjoy TV in comfort and relative silence — you name it. And if I have a long layover, I take the opportunity to walk the underground hallways from terminal to terminal.
From "A Sense of Place" exhibit.
            This past Sunday I had three hours to kill and I arrived at Terminal A and needed to travel to Terminal D for my final flight. I took the escalator down to the subway stop and walked underground all the way to my destination. It’s great exercise and there’s plenty to see along the way. For instance, between Terminal B and C there’s the history of Atlanta in panels, photographs, videos and more. You can easily spend upwards of an hour reading all about the Southern city from its inception by Native Americans to the Civil War, Civil Rights and beyond. Also around Terminal B and C is a curated photography exhibit on “A Sense of Place” by 11 Georgia-based photographers.
            According to the airport web site, there’s also 20 contemporary stone sculptures from 12 Zimbabwe artists between concourses T and A, but I didn’t venture that far.
            When I finally arrived at Concourse D I was treated to a collection of artwork from some of the city’s school children, including exquisite paintings, drawings and photography from ages as young as 6! And since I still had two hours left on my layover, I picked up a falafel wrap at the food court and kicked back in a comfy chair to watch planes, luggage carts and other vehicles stream by my window.
            So the next time you’re killing time in the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport of Atlanta, don’t curse your bad luck. Go for a walk and experience some culture.

Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She also writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire, “A Cajun Dream” and “The Letter.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

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