Founded in 1733, Savannah has not moved (or almost). The Georgian city has kept its old-fashioned charm, which evokes the deep and timeless South, that of Gone with the Wind and beautiful colonial residences. Its jazz festival, which takes place in September, is an opportunity to discover its made in USA splendors, in search of lost time. Savannah is America having preserved its memory, a total immersion in history. Ready for a trip back in time?
The jewel of the South
Georgia On My Mind, sang Ray Charles. Nino Ferrer would have echoed him with his famous One would say the South. In Savannah, Georgia, there is no doubt: you are in the mythical South, that of Gone with the Wind, beautiful colonial mansions and cotton fields. Here, time seems to have stood still. This city is a little gem, almost a movie set. And, moreover, it often has been. It is here that Clint Eastwood directed Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, inspired by the eponymous novel by John Berendt. "Savannah is a character in its own right", said the venerable Clint at the exit of his film. We understand it. This city has a soul ...
Unlike many North American cities, Savannah has an intact past. The city was founded in 1733 by a certain General Oglethorpe and a hundred English colonists who established a strategic trade post there between Spanish Florida and the English colonies in the north. It had its heyday in the 1864th century with the cultivation of cotton, of which Savannah was the world center. This is where the price of white gold was fixed. Savannah was already a coveted gem: when General Sherman took possession of the city in December XNUMX, during the Civil War, he gave it as a Christmas present to President Lincoln!
Stroll through Savannah
What remains of Savannah's past splendors today? Almost everything. The city's past is so strong that we even offer tours of haunted houses to tourists! Savannah can be visited on foot, the city is hardly more populated than Aix-en-Provence (150 inhabitants) and hardly more extensive.
You must therefore stroll through its heart to admire its colonial houses, each more beautiful than the next, with their wrought iron balconies, their soft colors, their wooden stairs and their magnificent colonnades. They haven't aged a bit, just a little old-fashioned charm. You can even visit two, - the Juliette Gordon Low House andOwens Thomas House, a fine example of Regency architecture built in 1819 - remembering that very often it was the slaves who built these sumptuous homes. The First African Baptist Church is a testament to the large African American community living in Georgia. During the civil war, many slaves took refuge there.
To a jazz tune
Savannah also has many green spaces, the city's true lungs, which give it even more charm. One of the coolest events of the year, the Savannah Jazz Festival, takes place in the very pretty Forsyth Park, in the heart of the city. The program runs from September 23 to 30, but it is especially from Thursday 27 that you have to attend the festival. Many local performers come to remind us that the South is the land of jazz. Two legendary names will come to perform in Savannah: John Lee Hooker Jr., the son of the blues giant, who has already played with BB King, Lucky Peterson and Canned Heat, and bassist Ben Tucker, composer among others of Devilette performed by Dexter Gordon.
After the concert and the jam sessions, don't hesitate to stop by old Savannah after dark (but be careful, the city is not one of the safest in America). You will see, as often on this side of the Atlantic, it feels like a movie, even when it's not cinema!
The festival program
Savannah Tourism Board
Owens Thomas House on the Telfair Museum of Arts website
Juliette Gordon Low House
First African Baptist Church