I am not a fan of guided tours, nor the guided tourists who tour them. Too many questions, too much historical bedwetting, too many guests determined to lead the tour themselves. Along those lines, visitors to Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana can be seen posing for selfies in the slave quarters, dribbling ice cream down their T-shirts, paying $20-a-head to greet employees dressed in period garb, beset on all four sides by the massive weight that pulled these oak trees down.
I spend an hour at Oak Alley before heading north on 55 to Jackson, where I visit the one-time home of Medgar Evers. A civil rights activist, Evers was gunned down in his driveway by a white supremacist named Byron De La Beckwith. Beckwith lived free for another 30 years before being convicted of Evers’ murder in February of 1994.
Upon arrival in Memphis the following day I visit the hotel where Martin Luther King was assassinated. The facade of the Lorraine has been preserved, yet I find an anemic lack of tourists idly wandering the vicinity. The lion’s share have already departed on a chartered bus to Graceland, where they’ll fork over $34-a-head to roam the castle of another King, one who crossed the racial barrier before descending into sloth.