On Thursday, April 29th , 2010, it started raining and for several days the rains from the sky did not cease. On Saturday May 1st, our city started feeling the effects of that rain. It rained more in three days than it had all of last year. On Monday, May 3rd the skies were crystal clear and a beautiful blue and the devastation from the weekend storms were evident for all to see. Our city, the city of Nashville and the Middle Tennessee region were declared disasters area along with twenty-two counties. Flood waters had gotten as high as 52 feet.
From Hermitage to Donelson, Bordeaux to Brentwood, Hendersonville to Rivergate, Metro Center to Metroplex, Uptown to Downtown, West Hamilton road to Gallatin Road, Main Street to Charlotte Ave, Briley Parkway to Old Hickory Blvd., I-65 to I-24- to I-40, Robertson County to Hickman County, Antioch to Ashland City, every inch of this area was impacted in some way; some areas more so than others. If it was not water from the Cumberland River, Old Hickory and Percy Priest lakes, creeks, or streams, water from tears touched all of us.
Nashville is called Music City, USA. It was called Music City because of the hearts of several talented young students, known as the Jubilee Singers, at Fisk University led by Ella Sheppard. They were on a mission to raise funds for their school. They could not get concert bookings because they were Black living in the segregated South. The traveled North and was heard at a convention. From there they were invited around the country to perform. In 1872, they sang at the World Peace Festival in Boston and then invited by President Ulysses S. Grant to perform at the White House. In 1873, they invited to sing before Queen Victoria. When she heard the beautiful acapella voices of the Jubilee Singers she proclaimed, “They must come from Music City.”
Our beloved city is rich in diversity and culture that is not often reflected in national or even local media. The Flood of 2010 ruined not only national landmarks like The Grand Ole Opry, and known businesses like the Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills Mall that employs thousand or destroyed historical documents and musical artifacts or damaged the homes of country stars that were seen nightly on the news once the national media showed up, but everyday working people who make this city great. Many, many lives were disrupted or devastated. Black, White, Brown, and Yellow people showed up to help each other. Budget strapped non-profits opened doors to assist not only those newly homeless but their own people lives were turned upside down. Counselors needed consoling. Politicians stopped political rhetoric and campaigning and helped their fellow neighbors and constituents. Jews and Gentiles, Catholic and Protestants, Republican, Democrats, Independents; all worked beside each other these last two weeks.
I visited with several pest control operators who businesses are under water. There were no need for words; I knew firsthand what they were feeling. Tears flowed from men I know and respect greatly in this business unashamedly. I met overwhelmed moms who just got out of the hospital with newborns with no diapers, formula or personal toiletries for themselves. I saw elderly folks who were bedridden with soiled diapers on for days. Your desire for dignity does not go away in the middle of a national disaster. I spoke to several soldiers in Iraq serving our country wondering if their families are being served. Men protecting us abroad were feeling helpless because they were not there for their families. The needs are endless and consuming but I believe in the goodness of people. I saw folks from every economical, racial and ethnic background bewildered, shocked, and speechless but determined to get through this tough time. We are the Volunteer State, we will recover!
The photos you are about to see are not tagged. I chose to let you see for yourself a small fraction of who we all. Pictures tell stories. Unfortunately, those stories can be manipulated by a press that does not always give the whole story. There are more photos that will be going up later. I have hundreds of pictures that reflect our diversity, our generosity, and our courage in times of adversity. I saw neighbors being neighbors to each other, without hesitation, without question. I don’t know what the future holds but I know WHO holds the future in HIS hands. Hang in there!
(Ludye N. Wallace suffered a tremendous amount of damage to his home. While waiting for the water to reside in his residence, he gave sacrificially of his time to photograph the pics you see. You may contact him at Ludyeonduty@gmail.com)
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