Our 14 top longreads of 2014

From a fugitive banker and Georgia’s top lawman to a heartbreaking ballpark accident and a little-known slice of Civil War history, our most popular features and essays of the past year. Plus: a must-read from the archives.

8-14-foul-ball1The Many Lives of Aubrey Lee Price
The fugitive banker finally talks. And you won’t believe what he has to say.
By Charles Bethea

Foul Territory
How long do you have to react when a line drive is hit into the stands? Less time than it takes to yell “foul.”
By Christine Van Dusen

Stranded in Atlanta’s Food Deserts
In a region that prides itself on celebrity chefs and lush farmers markets, half a million people live without access to something as basic as a grocery store.
By Rebecca Burns

The Inevitable Candidate
Jason Carter has smarts, charisma, and an incomparable pedigree. He also has just four years in elected office, and he’s running for governor in a state that has little tolerance for his political party. Can a man who’s been building the resume for this campaign since he was a teenager save the Democrats in Georgia?
By Rebecca Burns

I’m Glad My Kids Go to Atlanta Public Schools
The lessons I learned while my twins attended Garden Hills Elementary
Essay by Ann Hardie

Turf Wars
A 65-year-old high schoool rivalry. Aged to perfection.
Essay by Drew Jubera

The Polaris Comes Full Circle
The Hyatt dome spins again, 22 floors above Downtown
By Richard L. Eldredge

“We Cannot Waste A Single Day”
For children with brain tumors—and for their families—the struggles that come after a diagnosis can be unimaginable. Candice Dyer explores how some parents are lightening the burden for those who will come next, whether by establishing a biorepository for scientists, lobbying for more research dollars, or simply helping a family with its bills.
By Candice Dyer

Magnifying Glass
Thad Starner has been wearing some kind of computer on his head for twenty years. Now the Georgia Tech professor and Google Glass pioneer wants the world to join him.
By Jesse Lichtenstein

On the case with Georgia’s top cop, GBI Director Vernon Keenan
By Charles Bethea

Battle Scars
Atlanta was burned to the ground 150 years ago. Could it be the best thing that ever happened to us?
Essay by Rebecca Burns

Shipped Away
The little-known fate of hundreds of Roswell women and children charged with treason, deported north, and abandoned
By Tony Rehagen

Re: Fredi Gonzalez
All my boss does is complain about the Braves’ manager. To shut him up, I proposed a story showing him how lucky he and Atlanta baseball fans actually are.
By Tony Rehagen

And, from the archives:
The publication of this year’s memoir by Yamma Brown, daughter of soul singer James Brown, prompted renewed interest in Thomas Lake’s  account of the life and mysterious death of Darren Lumar, Yamma Brown’s former husband. Lake’s The Debtor  was one of the top-read features on our site, five years after its original publication.