A geographically constrained faculty job search is always difficult. I would even say that if you're absolutely determined to end up in Atlanta, you should probably be willing to settle for jobs that may not yet be on the radar of a person with your credentials.
No disparagement of Atlanta is intended. It's a fine place to be scientist and there are several excellent institutions there (and close by). But if you're determined to find a high-level faculty post, the odds are against you if you're sampling such a small segment of the (inter)national job market. So: while you may find exactly what you're looking for at an Atlanta institution, be prepared to accept teaching-focused jobs at mid-level institutions, community colleges, and so on.
I won't go through your questions point by point, but I will hit some highlights.
* I don't think your visa status will be a problem. You don't qualify for most U.S. fellowships, but, once you have an eligible employer, you may compete for research grants on an equal footing with American citizens. If an institution wants to hire you, the visa thing is mostly a formality.
* Finish those papers and submit. Get them on your CV.
* Views on current grant support vary among institutions. For a few it's essential, just to get hired to an assistant professorship. For more, the main thing is to demonstrate fundability, which you should have no trouble doing.
* Research Atlanta. Know exactly what institutions are there. Go beyond the obvious choices: Georgia Tech; Emory; Georgia State. (Atlanta is a little more than an hour from Athens, where the University of Georgia is located. It's more than 2 hours from August, home of Georgia Health Sciences University.) Also consider the area's excellent minority-focused institutions: Clark Atlanta. Morehouse. Spelman. There are quite a few other institutions in the area. Figure out what they do there, what their programs are like. Could you be happy working there? You might want to set up some informational interviews, partly to let them know you're around. But this may not help you: If you become known as a "local" candidate you're more likely to attract offers of temporary teaching posts than tenure-track offers.
* Remember that there are alternatives to academia. Transitions can be difficult, and you need to be able to demonstrate that you're committed to whatever track you pursue. The Atlanta area does have some life-sciences companies: Vaxygen, a recent startup. Arbor pharmaceuticals. Iconic Therapeutics. Allergan has a few Atlanta-based openings:https://allergan.taleo.net/careersectio ... =101372523
Here's a list of biotech and pharma companies with a presence in or near Atlanta:http://thelabrat.com/jobs/companies/cit ... taGA.shtml
For most people, there are many different ways to achieve professional satisfaction. Don't limit yourself to the ones you've already embraced.
Jim Austin, Editor