: 34,211 (2000 Census)
Geography: Northeastern Mississippi
, almost exactly halfway between Memphis
on Interstate 78. Part of Lee County, Mississippi
Primary industry: furniture
Why you might have heard of it: birthplace of Elvis Presley, and important to the development of the blues well before Elvis became The King. Probably mentioned in a William Faulkner novel or two, definitely mentioned in several John Grisham novels, as well as the movie Almost Famous.
Tupelo is one of the fastest growing cities in the Deep South, for good reason, as it is one of the few bastions of civilization in a remarkably underdeveloped area. Its thriving furniture industry, excellent public schools (the first system in the state to desegregate), and large medical center, one of the largest in the South, all combine to make Tupelo a pretty nice place.
I lived there for a very long time. I will probably not end up living there again, but, overall, the quality of life was excellent - much better than the stereotypes of Mississippi would make it seem.
There are worse places to have your transmission go out.