Features - Atlanta Magazine

Author Thomas Lake

  • Thomas Lake


Fixer, Charmer, Builder, Mayor.

The mayor of Atlanta lives alone on a hill at the edge of the city, in a five-bedroom house that serves as a hotel. He is rarely seen there, except on Sundays or when he’s asleep, four to six hours a night, and even then police watch the house in rotating shifts. No wonder he keeps the blinds drawn. Read more

The Room that Makes the Trains Run

The nerve center of Atlanta’s electric rail system hides in an unmarked concrete building east of the city limits in DeKalb County, behind a fence topped with three strands of barbed wire. Read more

Pine Street Posse

Late in the spring, after the foreclosure, the Peachtree Pine homeless shelter Downtown was itself in danger of homelessness. Read more

The Golden Boy and the Invisible Army

Ninety-two years ago, at the height of World War I, this exact thing happened. A new kind of flu virus emerged, and humans had no natural defense. It was one of the two deadliest pandemics of all time, with numbers comparable to the Black Death. The average flu strain kills one of every 1,000 people it infects. The Great Influenza of 1918 killed one in forty. Read more

Will This Ever Actually Happen?

During the war, as the Yankees came with their guns and torches, Henry Irby laid his gold in a dishpan and buried it in the clay. So goes the legend. Irby lived at the center of Buckhead—indeed, his famous tavern, with the head of a deer mounted on the front porch, gave Buckhead its name—and he barely survived the fall of the Confederacy. The legend is hazy on the fate of his gold, but circumstances suggest it never resurfaced. Irby fed his family by selling land for five cents an acre and sometimes bartering land for wheat. Read more

A Tea Party in Peachtree City

The president of the South Atlanta Tea Party is a gracious stay-at-home mother named Cindy Fallon, and a few weeks ago she was talking about taxes (especially their inverse variation with job-creating capital), Ponzi schemes (especially the federal government), and the proverbial toilet (toward which her three children’s proverbial futures are sliding). Read more

Bound by Silence

We couldn’t talk about any of these things because there was still a trial on, the State of Georgia v. Devonni Benton, and we the jury had been forbidden by the judge from discussing the case until after the closing arguments and the final charge. Read more

Broccoli Is for Parakeets

There is a hidden restaurant near the south end of Grant Park, in a tan-painted aluminum warehouse. No silverware, no tablecloths. If the place had a menu, it would feature colossal rats and quarter-inch crickets. Read more

A Few Kind Words at the End

Sandon Jones went in the ground on a Wednesday morning, 141 days after his death. No friends or relatives attended his funeral. The ceremony lasted not quite two minutes and was shared with another man, whose coffin was placed in the same hole. Neither man received a headstone. Read more

Like a Thief in the Night

The repo man’s fear had little to do with the physical work. The work was not so hard. His strong hands could pop a Lexus without a key and coax it into neutral with a pocketknife. He could take a Chevy from a country double-wide and escape by driving backward up a winding hill in the dark. He had at least three tricks for breaching gated communities, including a metal sheet that fooled the gate into swinging open. These were all mechanical problems, soluble with a known set of rules. Read more