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Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

Dubai, United Arab...
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Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

Hi there

My wife and I together with her parents (from the UK living in Dubai) are going to be driving from Memphis to New Orleans next month. We have allowed 5 days for the journey and as much as possible don't want to go on the interstate. We are interested in seeing America and experiencing as much as possible on the journey.

I have been looking on maps and reading a lot, mostly quite old, posts on various forums but I would really like to get feedback on towns etc that we should plan to stop along the way. Any advice would by most appreciated.

Many thanks


Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

Axle who posts on this forum will give you great advice but we've done a bit of travelling in MS also. Here are some suggestions-

Take US Hwy 61 south-

Stop in Clarksdale- blues music, museum, good restaurants (1day)


Stop in Vicksburg- Civil War historic battle site, eat at Rusty's on the

Riverfront (1 day)


Stop in Natchez- beautiful old historic antebellum homes and plantations (2 days)



Then on to New Orleans. Enjoy your trip!!

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2. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

Your Clarksdale trip will cause some hard decisions. If you want to try the best Clarksdale has to offer I suggest you avoid breakfast and have an early lunch at Ground Zero which is owned by Morgan Freeman and two of his friends. Get a plate lunch or sandwich but eat light. The Blues Museum is next door. Before you head back to the casino go to Hick's and get another light lunch of BBQ and tamales. This way you get the best of Clarksdale. I wish you would visit Oxford. If not then plan 6/7 hours in Clarksdale. Have an early lunch at GZ, visit the Museum, walk around downtown and shop, get some tamales at Hick's then have drinks at Madidi's and dinner if you like. I really hope you find time to visit Oxford. It's my favorite town in Mississippi.





Clarksdale is about 50 miles from the casinos. When you reach Clarksdale you will be on U. S. 61 which bypasses the city. Take a right just N of Clarksdale to downtown and you will be on N. State St. You will pass a big cotton gin on your right then you will see The Ranchero on your right. Abe's will be on your left just up the road. Past Abe's you will come to Sunflower which is just before the Sunflower River Bridge. Turn right and go N on Sunflower to the railroad tracks. Go back to your right just past the RR tracks and you will find Ground Zero and The Blues Museum. Madidi's is a few blocks to your N. Hick's is on N. State St. so go back S on Sunflower to N. State St. and go to the right cross the bridge and Hick's is on your right. President Clinton had lunch with Eugene before he left office but Hick's was in an old location back near the RR tracks. Ask for Eugene and ask him to show you his President Clinton photo's. He loves to show them.

Stop at The Ranchero and get a cold drink. Charlie Conerly who was a famous QB for the NY Giants lived in Clarksdale and there are all kinds of old sports photo's there of Conerly and some of his old buddies. It's a fun place and the food is outstanding.

The Blues Museum in Clarksdale opens at 9AM. Have breakfast at Blue and White in Tunica and get to Clarksdale on Friday around 10AM. Blue and White is on the right as you go through Tunica. It's Blue and White and used to be a service station. Park at the Blues Museum in Clarksdale and visit there. You can walk several blocks N and be in the middle of downtown. Let your wife shop a bit then have lunch at Ground Zero around 11AM when they open. After lunch head back S on Sunflower by the river and stop at Hick's just to visit. Take a right on Highway 61 which is State St. Go across the river and Hick's is on the right in nice red brick building. Go in visit and get a cold drink. Talk to Eugene and look at his pictures when President Clinton visited. Then head N on State St. Stop at The Ranchero on the left for another cold drink and look at all the sports pictures there of Charlie Conerly and his friends.

Then head N on State St. to Highway 278/6 E to Batesville/Oxford. It's about 60 miles to Oxford. You should be there around 3PM. When you get to Oxford you will come to a red light and Jackson Ave. going to the left. Go straight ahead and get off at the first Exit which is Coliseum Dr. Get off on right but turn back left and cross the highway. Take your first right by the Basketball Practice Facility. I can't ever remember that street's name. You will see the football stadium straight ahead. Go to dead end at All American Dr. turn right and go past N end of stadium. You will run into the Grove. Go to the left on University Ave. and you will go past the Grove on your right and run into the Circle. Go around the circle and you will see The Lyseum which is the oldest building on campus. The James Meredith riot started in the Circle. There's a monument of him behind the Lyseum. The street you came in on at The Grove is University Ave. Take it back E all the way to Lamar. Take a right on Lamar and go about 6 blocks and take a right on Old Taylor. Go about 3 blocks and you run dead into Faulkner's home. You can drive up the gravel road in front and park and go in and visit. Go back to Lamar and go N past University Ave. two blocks and park. You are now on The Square. The building on your left is Square Books which is very famous. John Grisham has a home in Oxford. You passed it on the right just before you got to town. It sits off to the right on a hill and it's easy to see. It's just before the car dealership before you get to the first red light. He's a frequent visitor to Oxford.

Park and walk around the Square. City Grocery is two doors down W of Square Books. Neilson's to your right on the Square is a nice department store. If you walk past City Grocery on the left you will see Waltz Restaurant after you pass the Pizza joint. Going around the Square you will find Ajax which is a good country food joint. There are a couple of nice ladie's shops on that side of the Square. Downtown Grill is on N side of Square. They have a nice bar upstairs. There's a Rebel junk store around on the N side if you want to buy a Rebel souvenir to take home. Go N on Lamar and Lenora's is on the left. Have dinner at City Grocery. CG has a nice bar upstairs and you can sit outside if you like. Tell Jim Weems the manager with a beard that Henry McCaslin said hello. He will take good care of you. If Jim is not there then a cute young lady named Lauren will take care of you. I hope you have a great trip.

City Grocery @ 152 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS. 662 - 232 - 8080.


If you have time stop by Greenwood, MS where you will find some outstanding casual local dining at Lusco's, Crystal Grill and Giardinia's. Giardinia's is in The Alluvian Hotel which is a 4 * hotel owned by Viking Range. The Crystal has good plate lunches, seafood and steaks. Giardinia's and Lusco's both have outstanding seafood and steaks. Lusco's is old style in a fairly rough neighborhood but safe with lots of history and famous names that have been there. Everyone dines in a booth with a curtain same as Giardinia's. Spend the night at The Alluvian and dine at Giardinia's or Lusco's for dinner.

Alluvian Hotel @ 318 Howard Street, Greenwood, MS 662 - 451 - 1500.


Crystal Grill @ 423 Carrollton Ave.,Greenwood, MS 662 - 453 - 6530.

Giardinia's @ 314 Howard St., Greenwood, MS 662 - 455 - 4227.


Lusco's @ 722 Carrollton Ave., Greenwood, MS 662 - 453 - 5365.

Stop in Greenville, MS if you have time for dinner at Doe's Eat Place. Greenville, MS is W of Greenwood, MS on Highway 82. Doe's Eat Place is not to be missed. You enter the restaurant through the kitchen where you can watch the steaks being prepared. In the center of the main dining room there are stoves at which the fries are made and salads are prepared there as well. In most cases, one steak there easily feeds two.

Doe's Eat Place @ 502 Nelson Street, Greenville, MS 662 - 334 - 3315.


You can head S on Highway 49 to Yazoo City and take Highway 3 to Vicksburg, MS. If you are in Greenville, MS you can go S on Highway 61 to Vicksburg, MS.

In Vicksburg you could tour the old antebellum homes and the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Have lunch/dinner @ Rusty's River Front Grill @ 901 South Washington St., Vicksburg, MS 601 - 638 -2030.

or @ Walnut Hills @ 1214 Adams Street, Vicksburg, MS 601 - 638 - 4910‎ for southern cooking.

Stop in Greenville, MS if you have time for dinner at Doe's Eat Place @ 502 Nelson Street

Greenville, MS 662 - 334 - 3315.


Rosswood is a great B&B between Vicksburg and Natchez. Be sure and stop at Old Country Store in Lorman for an outstanding country lunch.

Rosswood Plantation @ 2513 Red Lick Road, Lorman, MS 601 - 437 - 4215.


Old Country Store @ 18801 Hwy 61, Lorman, MS 601 - 437 - 3661.

I would definitely stop in Natchez and spend a day touring the plantation homes there. Monmouth is an oustanding place for the night. The dining room there is superb. I would also check out The Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall for a wonderful lunch.



Watford England
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3. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

I may be a bit late with this message but I will be doing the trip in reverse next week (New Orleans to Memphis). We only have three days (2 nights) for the trip. With a lot of help from this forum, our tentative itinerary gos like this :

Day 1 - Pick up hire car and leave New Orleans and head out towards Cajun country on US90. Plan to do a bit of exploring around New Iberia and Breaux Bridge before overnight stop in Lafayette.

Day 2 - a slow drive via New Roads and Highway 61 to Natchez .

Day 3 - a longer drive to Memphis. Will stop off somewhere along the way - maybe Greenville and Clarksdale - but won't have much time as I want to get to Memphis in time for the evening's fun.

I will be studying Axle's posts for dining recommendations.

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4. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

When you leave Vicksburg and head N on # 61 stop by The Bear Store at Onward which is where Teddy Roosevelt visited bear hunting. They have a neat store with good country food. You might want to stop going through Merigold, MS N of Cleveland, MS and visit McCarty's Pottery which is very famous for pottery made from MS Mud. Have lunch in Clarksdale at Ground Zero owned by Morgan Freeman. You are about an hour from Memphis. Enjoy your visit.



Po Monkey's is a famous juke joint just across # 61 in Merigold. It's a minute or two from the highway. Won't be open but worth stopping and taking a picture.


Edited: 9:50 am, June 06, 2012
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5. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

Here's another link with some great Delta info. Go to page three for some Clarksdale info.


Dublin, Ireland
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6. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

Axle, Have you ever got the AMtrak from Memphis to New Orleans? Do you get to see much scenery on the train?

3 posts
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7. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

We are driving from New Orleans to Memphis in June this year, but only have one night to stop. Any thoughts on the best place to stay a night?

Atlanta, Georgia
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8. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

I vote for Vicksburg- great food at Rusty's on the Riverfront and a could do a short drive thru the Civil War Military park which is one of the best imo. Also nice views of MS River and a very historic downtown area.

Burleson, Texas
6 posts
9. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

I second Vicksburg and Rusty's!

Eureka, Missouri
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10. Re: Driving from Memphis to New Orleans - The scenic route

My husband and I are going to travel the Natches Trace from Nashville to Natches this spring and though we've not done it before I've heard good things about it. If you are in Memphis you have a choice of going east on either highway 72 toward Florence or interstate 78 toward Tupelo. The Trace which follows the route of a pioneering trail is managed by the National Park Service and you can go online to get maps and info. The parkway will definitely not be an interstate and has many small towns plus the mileposted attractions of the Trace. We are also hoping that in late April early May we might be treated to lots of spring blossoms. Good luck on your trip.