Here is your weekly look at interesting stories from around the South that challenge us and celebrate us. The American South roundup includes stories and galleries from USA TODAY Network news organizations across our Southern states.
This week we take you to the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee where park officials are expecting large crowds as the leaves start turn this fall. The park reported historically large crowds this summer as millions of travelers hit the road. In southwestern Louisiana, residents are starting to rebuild after Hurricane Laura left behind a path of destruction. New drone footage shows the full extent of the damage in one parish.
Graceland and one other Memphis landmark was tagged with slogans that read Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police overnight on Tuesday Sept. 1. The tags on the wall outside of Graceland covered hundreds of handwritten messages from fans of Elvis Presley. Clemson fans will have to catch the season opener against Wake Forest on TV on Sept. 12. Officials announced that no fans or tailgating will be allowed for the game to allow for social distancing.Alabama State University will be the first university in the state to test out thermal screening to detect possible COVID-19 symptoms.
Catch a glimpse of Fall in the Smoky Mountains
The Smoky Mountains National Park saw a surge of summer travelers this year as Americans hit the road for a little fresh air. The park is expecting an equally busy fall with visitors to catch a glimpse of the brilliant array of fall foliage that accompanies cooler and shorter days.
Drone footage shows devastation in Hurricane Laura’s wake
New photos and drone footage commissioned by public officials in Cameron Parish in the southwest corner of Louisiana show the dismal extent of Hurricane Laura’s damage. Days after the storm, nearly 70 percent of the cell phone towers in the parish were still down and thousands of residents along the storm’s path were still without water or power.
Graceland tagged with “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) and “Defund the Police” graffiti
The famed Memphis landmark was tagged with “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) and “Defund the Police” graffiti overnight on Tuesday (Sept. 1). The spray painted words covered hundreds of handwritten messages written by Elvis Presley fans over the years. The Levitt Shell in Overton Park, another well known marker in the city, was also tagged with similar slogans.
No fans allowed for Clemson season opener
Clemson’s season opener at Wake Forest on Sept. 12 will be played without fans, officials announced on Tuesday (Sept.1). The game instead will be televised at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. No tailgating will be allowed before the game to adhere to social distancing rules amid the pandemic.
Alabama State University uses thermal screening to detect COVID-19
Alabama State University will be the first college campus in the state to test out thermal screening to detect possible COVID-19 symptoms as fall classes swing into gear. The tool reads certain biomarkers such as temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate by scanning the image of a person’s face in about 30 seconds, ASU officials said.
The university recently made headlines after report a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases due to students ignoring social distancing measures and attending crowded events.
Maria Clark is a general assignment reporter with The American South. Story ideas, tips, questions? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @MariaPClark1. Sign up for The American South newsletter.