This week we continue our series “5 Things I Love About Atlanta.” One of the great things about being a student (or a staff- or faculty-member) at Candler is living in one of this country’s great cities, Atlanta. I have my personal favorite things (about which you will hear soon). I have also interviewed my classy, cultured, and sophisticated colleagues around Candler for their favorite things about this little corner of the universe known as The ATL. So here we go.

Jamila Garrett-Bell, Assistant to the Registrar

She came to Atlanta from Seattle, Washington via New York City. She has been at Candler since 2002, was the 2006-2007 Candler Staff Person of the Year, and is a tenacious basketball player.

Jamila’s Top Five Things She Loves About Atlanta

1. Affordable Housing
Atlanta is one of the most affordable major cities in which to live in the United States. You can find a decent one-bedroom apartment in a good intown neighborhood for around $650/month (around $950 for two-bedroom). The median house price in metro Atlanta is $154,000.

2. Greenery
If you’ve ever flown into Atlanta (or been on Google Earth), you’ve noticed that the whole city seems to be blanketed by trees! Trees in Atlanta remove 19 million pounds of pollutants from the air each year. How about that?! Atlanta is currently working on The Beltline Project, 23-mile long intown system of parks and biking/walking trails.

3. Great Indian Food
Atlanta is home to a vibrant Indian and Indian-American population, so we’ve got fantastic Indian food! Jamila’s favorite Indian restaurant is Desi Spice in Midtown Atlanta. Jamila loves the Bhuna Shrimp Puri. Other great Indian restaurants within 4 miles of Emory include Madras Saravana Bhavan, Udipi, and Bhojanic.

4. Festivals
Jamila is a huge fan of Atlanta festivals. This year was the 31st annual Atlanta Jazz Festival, a month-long showcase of jazz talent, culminating in a free weekend concert series. Whether you like your jazz fusion or funky, smooth or straight no chaser, Jamila recommends loading up the family, taking blankets, dinner, and drinks and spending the day downtown groovin’.

5. Local Music

Atlanta is home to some amazing music. International superstars such as Emory’s own Indigo Girls, as well as Jermaine DuPri, John Mayer, Ludicrous, Outkast, Sugarland, and Usher have all come out of the Atlanta music scene. For the next generation of homegrown talent, five places to check out are:

Sugarhill (soul, hip hop, funk, and R&B)
Eddies Attic (acoustic, singer-songwriters, indie rock)
Apache Café (experimental, jazz, funk, spoken word)
Red Light Café (bluegrass Thursdays, folk)
Five Spot (jazz, funk, reggae, electronica).

Jessica Smith, Communications Coordinator, Office of Contextual Education

A 2005 MDiv graduate of Candler, Jessie will start her PhD at Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion this fall, focusing on constructive theological anthropology.

Jessie’s Top Five Things She Loves About Atlanta

1.Brick Store Pub
BSP, for short, is located in downtown Decatur, GA. Jessie enjoys the unique selection of beers and the one-of-a-kind space and atmosphere. There are no TVs in the joint (halleluiah!), so community and conversations are the heart of this pub. For a cozy evening, go upstairs to the Belgian Room.

2.The High Museum of Art

Jessie finds Atlanta’s largest fine art museum to be small enough to be accessible, and yet substantial enough to bring in fantastic exhibits. Jessie went to the Annie Leb
exhibit this spring and caught the Louvre Atlanta: The Royal Collections exhibit last year. They do Jazz at the High every Friday night.

3. Diversity and Neighborhoodiness

Jessie finds Atlanta’s neighborhoods to be charming, and appreciates a city that has such a range of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and musical/artistic tastes. She enjoys hanging out in neighborhoods like Oakhurst, Grant Park, Vinings, and Virginia-Highland.

4. Southern Urban Cuisine

There are few places on earth where you can eat food quite like they serve in Atlanta. A little bit down-home, a little bit sophisticated goodness. Jessie loves One Midtown Kitchen and Trois and adores Watershed, which is co-owned by Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road… But when her mom’s in town, Jessie takes her to Canoe, tucked away on the Chattahoochee River.

5. Shake at the Lake

Every summer the Georgia Shakespeare Company puts on a week of free dock-side plays at the lake in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. Tickets are first come, first served and must be picked up the morning of the performances. Last year Jessie took a picnic and a blanket and saw Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and this year she caught Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters (ok, it’s usually, but not always, Shakespeare).

About the Blogger: Brad Schweers is enjoying his new-found power as Candler’s Admissions Blogger. He also enjoyed the three times it snowed in Atlanta this past winter. Twice it even stuck on the ground!