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More On Beale Street

Some reaction to our story in Friday’s edition about Beale Street.

Performa Entertainment CEO John Elkington didn’t like the headline “Beale Street Chaos.”

“Chaos is not the proper word to use for a smooth running operation,” he e-mailed. He also points out the remaining parts of the Chancery Court lawsuit for control of the district still pending include a lawsuit by the merchants against the city of Memphis and not the Beale Street Development Corporation. The BSDC has other issues that are yet another part of the lawsuit.

City Attorney Herman Morris said he didn’t meet with council members privately about the recent eviction move at Ground Zero Blues Club. Some council members told us there was to be a private attorney-client meeting with Morris at the Tuesday council committee sessions to talk over the situation. There was no meeting with Morris on the topic.

We also wrote about the brass note ceremony for Elkington that symbolizes his pending departure from the entertainment district he shaped starting in the early 1980s through its opening in 1983 and up to the present.

The master of ceremonies for the event was Orpheum president Pat Halloran.

Halloran and Elkington are often mistaken for each other in what has become a kind of running gag between the two.

Elkington gets asked for tickets to shows at the theater and in some cases will joke that they will be waiting at the box office.

Halloran gets approached about leases in the district and business ideas for the street. And he will playfully suggest some generous lease terms like free rent.

“I found out most people down here already had free rent for a year,” Halloran quipped.

The devil is often in the details of Beale Street. And the entertainment business is always going to have its own unique brand of complexity. But at some point, trying to untangle all of the nuances of how the district operates raises questions about whether it has to remain this complex.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has appointed a working group to make recommendations on how the district, which is owned by the city, should be run once Performa’s exit becomes final. The city has some important decisions to make.

Dansette

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