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Atlanta according to Tai Saint-Louis

When she's not busy running the world, this 'reluctant peach' loves herself some ATL

Photo by Eric Cash
Photo credit: Eric Cash/CL
Tai Saint Louis

When Anne-Laure "Tai" Saint-Louis refers to herself as "a reluctant peach," she means it with the highest regard. But being fluent in nearly five languages and calling each corresponding locale home at some point can make it hard to settle for one dot on the map. Since arriving in Atlanta 11 years ago, the freelance hip-hop journalist has become quite the ATL dot connector as host of AB+L Radio's "The Download" (2 p.m. weekdays), founder of industry-minded urban entertainment site the Biz Class, co-author of mixtape bible The Art of the Tape, manager of hip-hop artist Elz Jenkins, and facilitator for clients including A3C Festival & Conference. She also finds time to help her sister and her dad run the Anacaona Foundation, which secures funding for established nonprofits in her native homeland of Haiti. All that and her reputation still bears more stamps of approval than her passport. "I know a lot of cool people," she says. It helps when you're one of them.

The top of Stone Mountain at sunrise is my favorite spot in the city to think deep thoughts by myself. I know that may sound a little generic, but there is a truly magical thing that happens once you reach the summit, close your eyes, and turn your face to the sun.

Edgewood is my favorite place to go chill in Atlanta. But only on weekdays when the kids have curfews or homework or whatever keeps them from annoying transitioning old-heads like me.

The best advice you could give Atlanta visitor is leave your expectations at the door; you'll be pleasantly surprised. And Flying Biscuit over Waffle House.

Something I know about Atlanta that nobody else knows is ... Not sure that nobody else knows, but Atlanta's foreign-born population has increased by 69 percent since 2000. That's exciting to me.

The I-285/Paces Ferry Road overpass is my favorite view in Atlanta. No matter the weather, Downtown looks like Emerald City from there.

Jeni's Ice Cream is my favorite place to go when it is really fucking hot

The Georgia Aquarium is the best place to take the kids. Or adults. Because it's awesome. Period.

My favorite nature spot in ATL is a toss up. I've discovered a bunch of really cool trails within less than 10 miles of the Perimeter and a few even cooler ones within maybe an hour of the city. My most recent discovery was Sweetwater Creek State Park. I guess that's my other favorite thing about Atlanta: nature is always RIGHT THERE.

The first three words that come to mind when I think of Atlanta are pollen, traffic, and shawty.

The A3C Festival & Conference is my favorite Atlanta annual event.

Ansley Park is my favorite neighborhood. It's so amazing to me that these huge, historic houses are hidden away right behind the hustle and bustle and city-ness of Peachtree. It's like its own little world. And to this day, it's the only place I can't quite figure out multiple ways to get in and out of. (Old Fourth Ward is my second favorite because I'm a city kid, and that side of town is making Atlanta start to feel a little more cosmopolitan.)

C'est Si Bon Restaurant is my favorite spot that nobody knows about. Not sure if that really counts, because it's technically in Smyrna. But with close to 10,000 (maybe more) Haitian and Haitian-Americans living in Atlanta, no one EVER seems to know where to find Haitian food. I do, though. I have a couple alternatives too.

Any surface street shortcut through Sandy Springs and Buckhead is my favorite place to drive in Atlanta. One of my favorite things about Atlanta is how easily you can fall into a well-manicured, affluent neighborhood. It's a great reminder that abundance and success are never out of reach.

Atlanta's motto should be "FILA, or whatever." I call myself a reluctant peach because the truth is it's kinda hard not to love Atlanta. No matter how much the natives complain about the transplants or how much the transplants claim to miss home, ain't none of us really going nowhere, shawty!