Hey y'all. Just checking in again to let you know that Nashville is still here. I wanted to write a little bit more about what's happening in the city at large. Our personal situation is under control, and we're going to be OK. (As Jim said when a bunch of friends showed up to help him move equipment and dig out soggy insulation, "I feel like George Bailey!")
But folks, this event is going down in the history books. Apparently, this isn't a 100-year flood. It's more like a 500-year flood. Just over 13.5 inches of rain fell here in less than 48 hours.
Here are some photos taken by Jim on Monday evening in the downtown area:
I wish I had more. Normally, Jim would be all over something like this, but he has spent the whole week moving things out and trying to remove as much wet stuff from his studio as humanly possible to hold off the growth of mold and other nasty stuff. (I find myself wondering just how much waterlogged carpeting is going to have be disposed of in the coming weeks.) But, there have been lots and lots of pictures taken. I provide some links below.
As of today, there is only one functioning water treatment plant for the entire city (and we came within inches of losing the second one). We have been asked to cut our water usage by half, and I'm hoping that most people are complying. Water reserves dipped down to 37% earlier in the week. Laundry and dishes are piling up, and showering is a short, every-other-day event. This is hard because people really need to be able to wash things off and hose things down right now. But, it's just going to have to wait.
This article by Peter Cooper, in The Tennessean, details just how heartbreakingly enormous is the loss to the musical community here. It starts out this way:
"The common denominator is water.
Water on the wooden circle scuffed by Hank Williams' own boot heels. Water bending hundreds of wooden instruments at Soundcheck Nashville rehearsal studio, and halting production of Gibson guitars. Water destroying historical documents at the Grand Ole Opry House and at WSM-AM's Opryland Hotel offices.
For musical Nashville, much — no one is sure how much — has been lost to this water.
The Grand Ole Opry House is a soggy mess. On Tuesday, water covered the Opry House floor, save for four rows of seats in back. Water covered the stage, including the legendary six-foot circle of wood taken from the Opry’s old Ryman Auditorium home and placed into the Opry House’s stage for its 1974 opening. The circle may be broken. Guitars and rhinestone suits were ruined as the water filled backstage halls, lockers and dressing rooms. Tuesday night, the Opry would still be held at downtown’s War Memorial Auditorium; the Opry is a show, not a building, emphasized Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher."
I don't think the devastation at Soundcheck can be overestimated. This was the place where hundreds of musicians and engineers stored their gear, as well as housing many rehearsal studios and tour equipment for many acts. As most musicians and engineers are freelance, they usually store their stuff in this central location, and have cartage services transport it from place to place. Starting today, they're letting people in to come and clean out their lockers, halls and storage places. Undoubtedly, there will be many tears shed. I can only imagine what the losses will total when it's all said and done.
There are ten people confirmed dead in Davidson County, and some still missing. Government services are disrupted. Schools are closed. Mayor Karl Dean says that the damage so far has reached $1.5 billion.
The devastation at Opryland Hotel alone is beyond belief. If you've ever been there, you know that it's an astounding place, with lush indoor landscaping, cascading waterfalls, dancing fountains and even a faux New Orleans French Quarter section with a riverboat ride. That's all been covered in at least ten feet of water, and the hotel is going to be closed for months. Add that to the damage downtown, and you've put a knife into the very heart of the tourism industry here. (Perhaps the only bright spot is that the water didn't come up as far as the Lower Broadway honky-tonk district and Ryman Hall. That would have been the death blow.)
Our brand-new symphony hall, The Schermerhorn Center, had extensive flooding in its lower level, damaging a $2.5 million pipe organ, and canceling concerts for at least a month.
There are neighborhoods here - Bellevue, Metro Center, Antioch - where houses have been almost completely submerged. As most of the flooded homes weren't in flood plains, very few people have flood insurance. Some who did have found out the hard way that the insurance only covers the structure, not the contents of their homes.
Here is a YouTube video, posted elsewhere on OS already, composed of still photos from the last several days. The very last shot is inside of the Grand Ole Opry House, and when I first saw it, I got pretty choked up. The show will go on in other venues, of course. But this is a little hard to take.
So keep a good thought for Music City, will ya'? And, if you or anyone you know can help, here's how to do it.