Just returned from a business trip that took me through some great parts of the South. Drove from Cleveland OH to New Orleans, via Interstates 71, 65, 40 and 55. That's Cleve to Louisville to Nashville to Memphis to New Orleans.
Drove the same route back, except I picked up Highway 61 just north of Baton Rouge, and drove it all the way in to Memphis. Parts of MS along Highway 61 appeared very 3rd world-ish to me. Sad but fascinating.
Contrary to some of the above posts, I thought I was in the South, in Dixieland, on the second day of the trip, while in Elizabethtown KY. The female server (can't call them waitresses no more?) called me darlin'. I knew I was in Dixie. I was called darlin', honey, and sugar for 8 solid days, and I absolutely love it.
That may seem silly, or chauvinistic, but that's the South to me. The relaxed attitude and the outward friendliness. Not to mention the great food, scenery, music and history.
There's probably a formal Dixie, but the Dixie in my mind is mostly the Confederacy, with some of my own changes.
KY was indeed a border state, and did not secede. Neither did MD and DE, both slave states. MO was another border state. The M-D Line, by the way, runs between PA and MD.
The Rebs were: VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, TN, AL, MS, LA, AR, and TX.
In my Dixie, I'd drop AR and TX and add KY and MO. No rational reason, other than I've spent considerable time in both, and they appeared extremely Southern to me.
Thanks for allowing my 2 cents.