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STA Travel Blog

State of Play USA: Louna Maroun’s Deep South

Louna Maroun – an Australian vlogger, singer songwriter and red hair enthusiast – and her partner Daniel Hynes, travelled between Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans to discover the musical rhythms of the South. This is their story …


Georgia is known for its peaches, and none are sweeter than the beautiful city of Atlanta where our trip started. This is a city which prides itself on carefully maintaining its heritage while also embracing its vibrant present. Nowhere is this contrast more evident than in the Midtown area, where we visited the resplendent Fox Theatre and the bustling restaurants and bars that line Midtown’s streets. Music spills from the city’s night scene: jazz from late-night cafés, hip-hop from its clubs, and folk from the songwriter bars.

We were immediately attracted to the Olympic Park area, home to the World Of Coca-Cola museum, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and a stunning collection of commemorative sites from when the city hosted the Olympics.

On the city’s outskirts we got to experience the wonderful Inman Park festival: a fare both culinary and artistic, a veritable feast for the senses.


Next we travelled through the rolling green hills of Tennessee’s freeways, a sight in its own right, to get to Nashville, a city deserving of its moniker Music City. We visited the Johnny Cash Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and RCA’s Historic Studio B to immerse ourselves entirely in this soulful city.

- Blog by Daniel Hynes

After spending some time on Broadway Street, playfully referred to as the musical Hollywood of Nashville where musicians come to try and make their name, we tried our own hand at playing some music within the hallowed walls of the ‘mother church of country music’, the Ryman Auditorium. After recording ourselves in that magnificent venue we had to check out the Grand Ole Opry to see how the professionals did it, and we weren’t disappointed!

Inspired by our outings, we turned our attention to some musical retail therapy, visiting Carter Guitars and Gruhn’s Vintage and Rare Guitars, as well as the famous Grimey’s New and Preloved Records before singing our last song in Music City, and travelling further south.


New Orleans jazz rhythms greeted us from the outset, with street performers sprinkled about the city. Teddy from Free Wheelin’ Bike Tours dispensed with local gems and showed us many of the city’s seldom seen sights on our tour, and further inspired us to seek the real New Orleans.

We found a piece of the real New Orleans when we watched the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park Rangers perform with the virtuosi Richard “Pianoman” Scott. Here, history was told amidst performances, and they displayed the city’s age-old tradition of other musicians ‘sitting-in’ for a song when they invited Louna to play on stage with them.

The cuisine matched the unique rhythm of the city perfectly: gumbo and jambalaya, Beignets and Café Au Lait.

Whether it was cruising up the Mississippi on the Steamboat Natchez, exploring Bourbon Street, or cycling around the French Quarter, one thing was evident: New Orleans is a city like no other, with its own unique beat.

 While all the cities on this magnificent tour are startlingly different, there are common threads among them: passion for music, food and that famed southern hospitality.

Enthused for all things southern? Watch all of Louna’s fantastic videos and discover more about planning your own journey through the Rhythms of the South.
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