January 04, 2010 Slideshows » Special Sections

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Decade in Review 

REBECCA BEARD/CL FILE
In 2000, Georgia was one of three states that still mandated execution by electrocution for at least some death row inmates. Old Sparky wasn't officially retired until 2001.
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Atlanta-based Marvelous 3, fronted by soon-to-be-famous-producer Butch Walker, releases Readysexgo in 2000, a follow-up to the modern rockers' more successful Hey! The band broke up in 2001.
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Chef Gunter Seeger wins a coveted fifth Mobil Travel Guide star in 2000 for his three-year-old Buckhead restaurant, Seeger's -- joining a list of the country's 18 finest restaurants. Seeger's later closed in 2006.
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Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, Atlanta drivers are alerted to Hartsfield International Airport's closure -- not that anyone was eager to fly.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Shirley Franklin, seen here celebrating her first election victory, became Atlanta's first female mayor in 2001. She came into office vowing to fix the city sewers and "make you proud."
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
In 2001, then-Gov. Roy Barnes orchestrated a major change of the state flag. During the following year's race for governor, self-proclaimed "flaggers" swarmed the state Capitol calling for the restoration of the Confederate battle flag.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
After maybe the most entertaining federal racketeering trial ever -- Strippers! NBA stars! Mobsters! Blowjobs! Table-dancing defense attorneys! -- the owner of the notorious Gold Club cops a plea, leading to shuttering of the iconic venue in August 2001.
HYPE WILLIAMS
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, the fiery member of '90s Atlanta R&B trio TLC, had launched a successful solo career -- which was cut short when she died in a 2002 car crash in Honduras.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, here seen speechifying in 2002, was defeated that year by GOP crossover voters in DeKalb after she accused the Bush administration of having prior knowledge of 9/11. She regained her seat in 2004, then lost it again to Hank Johnson after being accused of striking a Capitol police officer.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
In its heyday, Atlanta's three-day Music Midtown festival drew upwards of 300,000 attendees with such acts as the White Stripes, the Black Crowes and Oasis. (This shot is from 2002.) But in 2005 -- the festival's 12th year -- Music Midtown sounded its final note.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, who later accompanied Senate colleague John Kerry on the presidential campaign trail, here confers with Kerry during the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Atlanta in March 2003.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Seven years after it arrived on a street corner in Old Fourth Ward, "54 Columns" -- the puzzling public art installation by world-renowned minimalist Sol LeWitt -- was vandalized in 2005. The pink paint was stripped off four days later.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Billed as the "world's largest aquarium," Atlanta opened its first public fish tank in 2005 to adoring fans. The Belugas were an instant fave.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Spectators watch as Florida resident Carl Roland perches atop a Buckhead construction crane in May 2005. Roland, who caused Peachtree Road to be closed for 56 hours until he was captured, was later convicted of an earlier murder.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Art in Freedom Park, one of the largest and best-received public art exhibitions in recent city history, was shut out of its namesake venue after only one year, 2005. Curator Evan Levy ponders the irony.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
After approximately two and a half years and $181 million, the 8.5-mile Nancy Creek Tunnel (pictured above) began transporting raw sewage on Dec. 31, 2005. The project, which was aimed to reduce raw sewage overflows into North Atlanta waterways (and basements), was part of the city's court-ordered $4 billion sewer overhaul that's made local waterways a little cleaner -- and Atlanta's water bills some of the highest in the nation.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
No other project stands to impact the way the city grows for generations to come than the Beltline. Pictured above is Ryan Gravel, the urban designer who envisioned the 22-mile loop of parks and trails as a Georgia Tech grad student -- and now watches it slowly come to life in all its $2.8 billion glory.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
The ATL's party zone of choice during the mid-aughts was the sprawling Vision, an opulent haven for ballers, posers and everyone in between occupying 27,000 square feet of Peachtree Street real estate in Midtown from 2003 until its bow-out in August 2006. Its owners, the Gidewon brothers, are now trying to open new clubs across the street.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
James Joseph Brown, who grew up in Augusta and went on to become both "the Godfather of Soul" and "the hardest working man in show business," died in Atlanta on Christmas Day, 2006. He was 73.
SCOTT HENRY/CL FILE
After a string of high-profile shootings in the early '00s left Buckhead Village's rowdy bar district shuttered, developer Ben Carter filed plans in 2006 to resurrect the area as a seven-acre, Rodeo Drive-styled shopping district.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
President Bush discusses "progress" in his war on terror at the Cobb Galleria Center in 2006.
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Former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, ringleader of a cesspool of City Hall corruption during the '90s, finally had his day -- make that, six weeks -- in court in early 2006, earning prison time for tax evasion. This lovely portrait was taken by his mistress during a graft-funded 1999 junket to Paris.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
A collaboration between ex-Goodie Mob member Cee-Lo (pictured) and innovative DJ Danger Mouse culminates in the insanely catchy 2006 track, "Crazy," which rivals OutKast's "Hey Ya!" as Atlanta's most overplayed anthem.
JIM STAWNIAK/CL FILE
Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King Jr. and an effective proponent of civil-rights after his assassination, died of ovarian cancer in January 2006. Her funeral services were attended by presidents Carter, Clinton and both Bushes, as well as then-Sen. Barack Obama.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
After housing some incarnation or another of a dive bar for five decades, the ramshackle Memorial Drive building that was home to the lovable Lenny's is emptied. Lenny's moves a few blocks up the road to Decatur Street. Hipsters and hard-living types across the city go into mourning.
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Before a federal dog-fighting indictment ended Michael Vick's career with the Falcons, Vick's No. 7 was Falcons owner Arthur Blank's luckiest number. The quarterback played his last game for Blank in 2006.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Forced out of her Harlem, Ga., home in early 2006 by Georgia's sex-offender law, Wendy Whitaker became the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging the controversial statute. Whitaker now faces a lengthy prison term for violating the law, which is still being tried in court.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
In 2007, Atlanta indie shock-rockers the Black Lips -- whose founding members formed the band back in 2000, before they were old enough to drive -- rose from local phenoms to international stardom.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
The drought that afflicted much of North Georgia took a nailbiting turn toward the end of 2007 as Lakes Lanier and Alatoona dipped to record lows. Shaken by the fact that "no water" means "no growth," state politicos started eying new reservoirs and the Tennessee River to provide water for 5 million people.
COURTESY ATLANTA BRAVES
Braves outfielder Andruw Jones played 12 seasons with the team -- until the organization could no longer afford him. His last game with the Braves was in 2007, after which his performance (and, eventually, his salary) sputtered.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
On April 17, 2007, then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama spoke to an estimated 20,000 people on Georgia Tech's campus in an effort to rally support for his presidential campaign.
LUCAS COSGROVE
In 2007, 17-year-old Atlanta rapper Soulja Boy churned out a No. 1 hit with "Crank That (Soulja Boy)." His career, if not his credibility, continues to soar.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
In 2008, the Westside's Bowen Homes became one of the last Atlanta housing projects to fall to the wrecking ball as part of an ambitious, long-term effort to replace public housing with mixed-income communities.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Metal rockers Zoroaster close out the 12th annual Corndogorama, held that year at Lenny's.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Iraq war protestors descend on Ponce de Leon Avenue in 2008, on the fifth anniversary of the conflict.
JOHN SPINK/AJC
Brian Nichols goes on trial in 2008 for the 2005 Fulton courthouse shooting rampage that left a judge, a court reporter and sheriff's sergeant -- and, later, a federal agent -- dead. After the six-week trial, Nichols was convicted of the murders but somehow avoided the death penalty.
THOMAS WHEATLEY/CL FILE
Hours after Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Nov. 4, hundreds of people -- white, black, young, old -- flocked to Auburn Avenue outside the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church to celebrate the nation's first African-American chief executive.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
In 2008, gay-rights advocates gathered in Atlanta to protest California's passage of Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage. Four years earlier, Georgia passed a similar measure.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Former Christian Coalition leader, lobbyist and political strategist Ralph Reed also became a former political candidate when he lost the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor to Casey Cagle in 2007.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
In late 2008, the shelter operated by the Taskforce for the Homeless at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets was threatened with closure after having its water shut off by the city. Although it remains open, the shelter is now fighting off foreclosure.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Atlanta rap superstar T.I. pleads guilty in 2008 to unlawful possession of machine guns and is later sentenced to a rather lenient 366 days in prison, as well as 1,500 hours of community service.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
On March 14, 2008, a tornado tore an eastbound swath through the city. The freak storm -- the first on record to strike Downtown -- killed two people, caused severe damage to Vine City, Cabbagetown and East Atlanta, and marred the city's skyline. Pictured is the Tabernacle, the historic downtown music venue that shut down for two months to repair extensive damage.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
After numerous rallies in his honor and three appointments with the execution chamber, longtime death row inmate Troy Davis finally catches a break in 2009, when the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Davis deserves a hearing that takes into account the recantations of seven of nine trial witnesses.
LIZA MCLAIN/CL FILE
Days of torrential downpours caused Georgia rivers to rise to record levels in September 2009, submerging homes in a toxic cocktail of sewage and mud -- and causing an estimated $61 million in damages to city property and equipment alone.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
After a lackluster year at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, the Atlanta Pride Festival returned to its Piedmont Park roots during a gay and jubilant -- and chilly -- weekend in October.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Days after winning the Dec. 3 mayoral runoff, Kasim Reed attends an Atlantans Together Against Crime vigil for a liquor store clerk killed during an armed robbery in Reynoldstown.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Councilwoman Mary Norwood's trademark enthusiasm wasn't enough to carry her through on election night 2009 to become the first white Atlanta mayor in three decades.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington resigns, as expected, in 2009. Pennington led the department through one of its rockiest periods, including the 2006 killing of a 92-year-old woman at the hands of a corrupt narcotics team.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Concerns about increasing crime reached a boiling point after John Henderson, a popular bartender at the Standard, was murdered during an early morning robbery on Jan. 7, 2009, at the Memorial Drive bar. Pictured is an early morning vigil held in Henderson's honor one day after the killing.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
On March 1, 2009, "thundersnow" -- an odd phenomenon in which, well, snow storms are marked by thunder bursts -- greeted Atlantans. Keeping with tradition, mass panic gripped the city, bread and eggs vanished from grocery store shelves, and people enjoyed rare moments like the one pictured above.
JOEFF DAVIS/CL FILE
Beloved garage rocker BJ "Bobby Ubangi" Womack succumbs to lung cancer in 2009, but not before recording his first full-length LP, Inside the Mind of Bobby Ubangi.
2/51
CL FILE
Atlanta-based Marvelous 3, fronted by soon-to-be-famous-producer Butch Walker, releases Readysexgo in 2000, a follow-up to the modern rockers' more successful Hey! The band broke up in 2001.
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