More on Misti Rae Warren

Here’s a video clip of Misti Rae Warren performing in the Laurelwood shopping center courtyard as part of the new live music series I wrote about in Tuesday’s Daily News.


Here Comes …. The River

Since we’ll all be watching the river as well as the skies in the next week or so. Here are some standards to consider courtesy of the National Weather Service Memphis bureau.

The record crest of the Mississippi River at Memphis was 48.7 feet on the river gauge on Feb. 10, 1937. Second place honors go to the flood of 1927 with 45.8 feet on April 23, 1927.

The two floods were unprecedented events not only in the heights the river reached but in the impact over several states displacing large numbers of people just before and during The Depression. Parts of Memphis experienced flooding but the city was also higher ground for the flood refugees.

Those in Memphis could hardly take solace in the presence of higher ground.

I had always wondered why my father was a little bit older when he graduated from Humes High School in the 1930s. His yearbook turned up the answer. It noted that students at Humes and other Memphis City Schools of the day lost part of a school year to the flooding of 1937 as they went to work with the adults in the flood efforts. The same must have been true for MCS students during the 1927 floods.

If the 45 foot crest forecast at Memphis on May 10 holds true, it will be the third highest river crest at Memphis – in the company of the 1937 and 1927 floods.

In our story in The Daily News for Tuesday, Memphis in May spokeswoman Diane Hampton recalled the river being the subject of some concern in 2002 but being nowhere near as the 45 foot high crest forecast for next week. In 2002, the river, during May reached a crest of 38.7 feet at Memphis.

The hard rains Monday added some urgency to a situation those who get paid to watch the Mississippi River were already concerned about.

Our story notes that while the Beale Street Music Festival is safe, the electrical bunkers near the rocks in Tom Lee Park will probably be moved at some point in anticipation of the river at Memphis cresting sometime between the last note of the festival and the first hammering of boards for the barbecue contest.

The NWS also includes some helpful but troubling milestones to measure the rising river by.

At 48 feet, it notes, Riverside Drive and Tom Lee Park flood. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site differs on this putting the mark for that at 49 feet. The Corps also says at 56 feet, homes are in danger of flooding on Mud Island. That would be far above the 1937 all time record, however.

If the river reaches 45 feet as forecast, it will specifically mean extensive backwater flooding along the Wolf and Loosahatchie Rivers in Frayser and northern Shelby County. And that level of water would go over the lowest dike around the ash settling ponds at the Alan Steam Plant.

At Monday evening’s river stage of 32.66 feet, there is some spot flooding of access roads to fields in southwest Shelby County. Joe Royer, the founder of the Outdoors Inc. Canoe & Kayak Race confirms the Mud Island boat ramp at the mouth of the Wolf River is well underwater.

Across the river, a quick glance to the west confirms much of the farmland west of Memphis is under water. Dacus Lake Road, north of I-40, should be flooded.

We’ll continue to update the river forecasts and readings throughout what could be a historic flood on par with the Mississippi River floods in 1937 and 1927.

Look for our updates on Twitter @memphisdaily.

The Good, the bad, the potential

Memphis has made a CNBC list called “20 Cities You Don’t Want to Live In…Yet,” grouped with others like Little Rock, Ark.; Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo.; and Detroit, Mich.

Memphis is a product of its own making. I can’t tell you how many times I find myself in conversations where people are so quick to beat down their hometown.

Something I’ve learned in my tenure covering real estate is it’s all about how you spin it. Do you think when an agent is showing a house to a potential buyer, the first thing they point out is the stained carpet and outdated wallpaper?

Instead, they flaunt the prime location, community amenities and open floor plans. They serve as visionaries, matching the house’s potential to the client’s needs.

What better way to address my feelings on this issue than to attribute something Dexter Muller of the Greater Memphis Chamber told me in February.

One of the reasons I like Memphis is because we’re bigger than our britches, that’s what my mother used to always tell me. The thing that’s nice about it is that Memphis is big enough to have the amenities of a bigger city, it’s small enough to be a place where you can actually make a change. Memphis is really on the cusp of the greatness that we’ve heard people talk about Memphis as having potential for so long.”

So here’s my soapbox, Memphis. Now’s the time to change this perception. Be an ambassador for your city, not a pessimist. If we can’t be proud of what we have, how will outsiders learn to do the same?

St. Jude Hits Back Over Stanford Claims

St. Jude has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it from a committee of Stanford Financial investors.

The investors say Stanford steered some of its ill-gotten gains to Memphis institutions, including St. Jude.

“It is difficult to fully measure the impact that St. Jude Children’s Hospital has had on literally millions of children with catastrophic diseases throughout the world,” St. Jude’s motion reads.

“From the earliest periods in the history of law, courts have protected and favored charities, indulging every inference possible to protect them and preserve their noble purposes. Plaintiffs seek to ignore this tenet of the law and the fact that St. Jude spent the funds it received for public good, not personal gain.”

Mid-South Retail Real Estate Happy Hour Tonight

If you’re young, young at heart, or are just looking to network, then you may want to clear your calendar for the evening.

The Retail Real Estate Happy Hour is slated for Thursday, April 21 from 4:30 until 7:30 p.m. at Dan McGuiness, 4698 Spotsswood Ave.

Who’s invited? Mid-South retailers, restaurants, developers, brokers, lenders, contractors, lawyers, city officials – anyone involved in any facet of the retail real estate sector. It’s the first of many meetings of the new networking group.

Guests are encouraged to arrive early to take advantage of free appetizers and limited bar tab. All guests are asked to bring at least two industry friends.

It’s hosted by Ashley Utley of Utley Properties, Robert Sloan of The Shopping Center Group LLC, Tyler Tapley of CB Richard Ellis Memphis and Joe Pegram of Randall Commercial Group. RSVP to Ashley Utley at or by calling 901-233-3786.