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#Memflood National Coverage Keeps Coming

The national media is … wait for it … flooding readers with coverage of the historic flood conditions in Memphis.

Here’s the New York Times. Here’s Time.com.

Diane Sawyer was here yesterday, as was CNN and other national journos wading through the water in boots.

What do you think? Has the coverage been generally warranted? Blown out of perspective?

Obama Signs Tennessee Disaster Declaration

President Obama on Monday declared a major disaster exists in Tennessee.

From the White House:

Obama also “ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds on April 4, 2011.

Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds in the counties of Chester, Davidson, Decatur, Dickson, Henderson, Humphreys, Lake, Shelby, and Sumner.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.”

Paul Hearts Memphis

Here’s a short video clip of Center City Commission president Paul Morris talking about why he loves Memphis, what Downtown can look forward to for the rest of 2011 and why he loves his job.


The River and Tom Lee

Just heard from David Alan Clark, the sculptor who designed and built the Tom Lee sculpture in Tom Lee Park.

Since 2006, the image of Lee leaning from a boat and rescuing someone from the river has become a river icon. The sculpture is now an icon on a river rising to historic levels unseen since 1927 and 1937.

Lee’s rescue of 32 people whose riverboat capsized south of Memphis was in May 1925, two years before the first of the two great floods.

“I’m worried about him now that Memphis in May has deserted him,” Clark writes. “And I don’t think his boat is seaworthy.”

The first weekend of Memphis in May came a bit early this year as it does from time to time. Usually the first weekend hits pretty close to the May 8 anniversary of Lee’s heroic achievement.

In designing and building the striking monument near the river’s edge, Clark included a surface meant to reflect the patterns of moving river water. And the concrete circle on which the monument stands has a circle of 32 lights, one for every person Lee pulled out of the river and to safety.

By the weekend, those lights could reflect the waver of real river water and the effect of river water won’t be symbolic.

Today, the river found its way onto Riverside Drive at Beale Street, an intersection with a lot of history and symbolic value.

It brings to mind a story I heard several times over the years directly from the two key players in the story – Rufus Thomas and Dwight “Gatemouth” Moore.

It goes back to the very late 1940s or early 1950s when both were at WDIA.

Moore, who later went on to become a bishop in the Church of God In Christ, hosted a Sunday morning program on the radio station. And one Sunday he announced that the following Sunday he would walk on water. And anyone who wanted to see him do it could be at Riverside and Beale at a certain time.

Moore’s plans kicked up quite a storm of controversy and not coincidentally quite a bit of interest and on that Sunday, quite a crowd at the intersection.

Moore took a step from dry land onto the muddy waters and did not sink. He took another step with the same result. On the third step he went in.

The plan never was for him to go very far, just a few steps onto some strategically placed boards Thomas was to place just below the water’s muddy surface before the crowd assembled. The third step wasn’t where the board was

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – SI, and the Grizz

Before the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder’s next clash on Saturday, spend some time reading a nice piece on Sports Illustrated’s Website about Memphis’ ascendant NBA team.

For the article, a reporter sat down with Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace at Soul Fish. Several players also were interviewed.

From the piece –

“After (Zach) Randolph closed out the top-seeded Spurs in Game 6 of the first round, with fourth-quarter floaters, fadeaways and baby hooks made even more impressive because his feet barely left the ground, he peeled off his jersey and flung it into the stands, the Santa Claus of spring. “I want to go to Beale Street,” he said, inspired by the victory party and lured by the Memphis in May music festival raging outside. “But I shouldn’t.” Then he collapsed into Wallace’s arms. The G.M. felt like Muhammad Ali cornerman Bundini Brown, whispering into the champ’s ear, “Zach, we love you and are fortunate to have you. The moon and the stars have come together for you in Memphis.”

Meanwhile, Grizz fans, here’s your Tennessee state Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, showing some love on the senate floor.