Where is the South?

Pat   Friday, August 13, 2004, 11:52 GMT
Here is a question that I don't believe has any one single correct answer, but is worth debating any how. If you had to define the border of the Dixie (that is, the south-eastern U.S., a region of tradionally ethnic, cultural ,and idealogical differences from the rest of the country) Where exactly would you mark that line?

(hint, it cannot simply be done "state by state" , the border states are far too different in their north and southern areas)

My line on the Atlantic coast would start just south of Baltimore, MD. I think once you are in the city of Baltimore, that is clearly no longer the south. However, I would consider much of Maryland to be the south, including the surrounding Washington DC area, and espically the western panhandle area. Northern Maryland along the coast has a more industrial, secular feel to it.

My Dixie would then run right along the Pennsylvania/Maryland border untill it hits West Virginia. West Virginia is another state in question because it was never part of the old confederacy, but there is a drawl spoken there, and the people are largely of poorer, Scotts-Irish decent. The north of WV however is more like Ohio, and I would cut the line running NE to SW from the Penn./WV border to about 10-25 miles north of Charleston, WV.

I would then continue the line right along the Ohio border, and no part of the state of Ohio is southern, dispite the fact that people in Cincinatti have a slight sourthern influence in their speach.

All of Kentucky is southern, that is another state that is commonly in question but to me it is clearly more southern than northern. There is far too much country music influence, southern food, accent and baptist churches for it not to be. As a matter of fact, the people of southern 1/4 of Indiana are more Dixie than Yankee, and the southern tip of Illinios (say the last 150 miles or so_ would also be included in the south. There is maybe no state that is as different north to south as Illinois in this part of the country.

I would continue the line about 50-75 miles south of the city of St.Louis, and have it run NE to SW. Missouri is another state in question becuase it acutally was an old slave state, but most of the population lives in the center or north and has nothing to do with Dixie. Anyway, the line would include a considerable chunk of Missouri, just becuase of the tradion of Huck Finn and the Ozark Mountain culture, and also the fact that it borders Arkansas and check the map, even Tennessee! This line would continue across the state to Oklahoma, where it would seperate the north and south roughly along the Kansas/Oklahoma/Missouri state line at that point.

In the SE of OKlahoma, it is almost as southern as any place else, in some rural places the accents are almost completely impossible to understand to an outsider. The influence is clearly of north Texas and Arkansas, for obvious reasons. However, I would say once you are in Oklahoma City, that has got to be line between the South and midwest (or north) So, everything in OK east and south of OK city would be still Dixie. I would draw a more or less NE to SW line from OK city down to the Texas border, right about where the northern Texas Panhadle merges with the main chunck of the state along the Red River.

The Panhandle of Texas I don't beleive is purely Dixie, it has a flat farmland Midwest feel to it. Thus the line would include all of Texas east of the panhandle untill you get to about 50 miles north of San Antonio (NOT a southern city to be sure). People like to include all of Texas as part of southern culture. It is not, first of all Texas is Texas. Yes the eastern part is definatly Dixie too, but would you really lump San Antonio together with Jackson, Mississippi? No, San Antionio is clearly Texas Texas, not "Dixie Texas", or you could say that San Antonio is simply a "South-Western" city. Thus the line ends north of San Antionio, makes an eastern turn and ends at the Gulf Coast about50-75 miles north of Corpus Christi. And there you have it, just a couple hundred miles up the coast is Houston and you know that is as southern as can be.
Ailian   Sunday, August 15, 2004, 23:05 GMT
Being from Louisiana, I consider the following states Southern:
South Carolina
North Carolina

I hesitate to refer to Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky as the South (Kentucky, West Virginia, and parts of Tennessee are more "mountain" states to me) and Texas is *never* the South. Northern areas of Florida are sometimes Southern due to Georgian influence, but the rest? No. (The same with Missouri -- southern parts of Missouri are Southern, but not enough of the state holds that "charm" to refer to it as such.) Louisiana is Southern by default, yet I consider it apart from the rest of the South (and indeed the US); the non-Acadian and Creole areas have a distinctive "Southern" feel, but the rest of the state has a completely different athmosphere.
Ed   Sunday, August 15, 2004, 23:49 GMT

Have you seen The Simple Life 2? They went to Louisiana and the people had the weirdest accent ever - I'm guessing they were French.
Ailian   Monday, August 16, 2004, 00:55 GMT
I haven't seen it (I don't watch such mind-numbing garbage), but I have heard of it. They went to various places in Acadiana and to a Zephyr's (local baseball team) game, I believe. Another wonderful example of the Acadian (Cajun) accent could be found in _The Waterboy_. There's an old man in it who speaks in quite a strong accent, much to the amusement of many Cajuns I know.
Ben   Monday, August 16, 2004, 16:19 GMT
Louisiana has by far the weirdest collection of accents I've ever heard. People from some parts of New Orleans have a very old-fashioned, aristocratic Southern accent that has mostly died off in other parts of the South. Inner New Orleans has an accent that is very New York-ey sounding. And the Cajuns, of course, have there own unusual dialect.