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The Big Easy: Back, Not Better Than Ever

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 5:03 pm (UTC-4)

As August slipped into September six years ago, Hurricane Katrina blasted ashore out of the Gulf of Mexico and into Louisiana and Mississippi, delivering widespread devastation and death. Evacuations in its wake outnumbered those of any other storm, earthquake, drought, or war on American soil. In particular, the ruination of romantic New Orleans, inundated when […]

Girls on Skates

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 12:56 pm (UTC-4)
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I was in Denver to see the roller derby championships. It was the first time I had ever seen the sport played and was blown away. Roller derby is hard to describe if you’ve never seen it, but basically just try to picture a group of feisty female athletes, many of them in hot pants, […]

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Terrible Twists of Fate

Posted November 23rd, 2011 at 5:36 pm (UTC-4)

Hundreds of healthy, strong Americans who awaken to a new day do not live to see the next one.  In a blur, they’re killed by a gun, a knife, a screeching car or the proverbial bus.  They are gone from us, and the lives of their loved ones and friends are changed, usually for the […]

Obama Land in Chicago

Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 12:28 pm (UTC-4)
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  I went to Barack Obama’s favorite diner, Valois, before I left Chicago.  It was too cool — there were photos of him all over the place, smiling alongside the owner, and a big poster of his “favorite things to order.” Apparently bacon, eggs, and pancakes were one of his choice combos. The waiter,  John, […]

Ever ‘Green’

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 7:35 pm (UTC-4)
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If you’re like me, you get lots of stories, jokes, anecdotes, offbeat videos and the like in your email inbox. The other day, a genial acquaintance sent me a tale that, others tell me, has made the Internet rounds for years.  But it was the first I’d seen it. I’ve fluffed it up a little, […]

Polygamists in Wisconsin

Posted November 16th, 2011 at 4:43 pm (UTC-4)

I drove up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to meet a polygamous family: Rich and his three wives, Julie, Brandy, and Angela, and five kids plus a dog. By U.S. standards, that’s quite a big household and it definitely felt that way. Kids were running all over, showing off in front of our cameras. The yard was […]

Strange Places I’ve Been

Posted November 16th, 2011 at 12:30 pm (UTC-4)
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As you know if you consult this space regularly, I love geography, travel, and words.  Especially when writing about America. A good friend of mine, Walker Merryman, whose personality fits his surname, wrote recently to tell me he, too, has been a lot of places of late.  Why, he said, he’d been in Cognito, but […]

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Posted November 14th, 2011 at 2:31 pm (UTC-4)

As those of you who check in regularly know, I was away for a couple of weeks on a trip from which I’ll have a few stories for you in the days ahead. I returned to find 1,800 emails on my office computer.   These included faithful reports by my colleagues to their editors that, yes, […]

Wit Watching at Wintzell’s

Posted November 9th, 2011 at 6:59 pm (UTC-4)
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For 73 years, one of the must-visit locations in the moss-draped city of Mobile, Alabama, has been Wintzell’s Oyster House.  And not just for the “oysters fried, stewed, or nude.” Nude, as in raw, served on the half-shell. While some restaurant owners display celebrity photographs and autographs on their walls, Wintzell’s has hundreds of little […]

Detroit: A City Trying to Rise Again

Posted November 7th, 2011 at 4:47 pm (UTC-4)

We drove into Detroit, Michigan at around midnight. In some U.S. cities, there are areas that still have some life at that hour – late-night restaurants closing up, bars open, people milling around; there’s a lovely hum. But that’s not we saw when we first arrived in Detroit. The streets we drove on were pitch […]

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Ted Landphair


This is a far-ranging exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist.

Ted writes about the thousands of places he has visited and written about as a broadcaster and book author. Ted Landphair’s America often showcases the work of his wife and traveling companion, renowned American photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

Ted welcomes feedback, questions, and ideas. View Ted’s profile. Watch a video about Ted and Carol by VOA’s Nico Colombant.

Photos by Carol M. Highsmith


November 2011
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