Category Archives: Nashville flood

>Nashville Trash


A lovely place for a picnic

As if pictures of a flooded Second Avenue or Opryland Hotel weren’t enough, if you want to get an idea of the magnitude of the Nashville flood damage, head out to Edwin Warner Park, where some of the flood trash is now being hauled.

Yes, that’s right: one of Metro Nashville’s finest parks, a place that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now a trash dump. A massive trash dump. And I’m told this is just one of three such dump sites.

Yesterday Mr. Beale and I headed out with the dogs for a Sunday hike and were astonished to find mountains of flood trash covering what was once Edwin Warner’s Model Airplane Field. I came back today to take some pictures.

This raises all sorts of questions for me. Clouds of dust fill the air; is it safe? Has it been tested? Much of the trash is construction materials: dry wall, flooring, chemically treated wood, moldy carpeting. Are there toxins in this dust which could affect the surrounding neighborhoods? I saw lots of joggers and bicyclists — this is a park, after all. Is anyone monitoring this? What about runoff? Will lead, PCB’s and other toxins wash into surrounding streams? How long will this stuff be here?

When I returned today I saw a NewsChannel5 team on the site; I guess (hope) we’ll get our answers soon.

It made my heart hurt to see it. Understanding that this represented peoples’ lives, their homes, their memories: that’s a hard pill to swallow.

And after seeing pictures of oil defiling the National Wildlife Refuges of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, to see a park in my own backyard turned into a garbage dump is … well, it’s a kick in the gut.

(As always, click on the pics to make them larger …)

Edwin Warner Park Trash Heap
The view from the Steeplechase


Filed under Nashville flood

>Media Fail, Flood Edition

>Today’s Washington Post looks at why the Nashville flood story was passed over.

Some interesting things here, including this:

Newsweek’s Andrew Romano writes that the problem with the Nashville story was “the ‘narrative’ simply wasn’t as strong” as in the suspense-laden Times Square and BP dramas. “Because it continually needs to fill the airwaves and the Internet with new content, 1,440 minutes a day, the media can only trade on a story’s novelty for a few hours, tops. It is new angles, new characters, and new chapters that keep a story alive for longer.”

Eh, I’m gonna call bullshit. “Man fights nature” is one of the classic literary narratives. It’s why every time there’s a hurricane headed to land we get to see Al Roker and Rob Marciano in rain slickers buffeted by high winds as they try to shout into the mic. It’s why we are constantly having our regular programming pre-empted by local weatherbots chasing Doppler Radar color blobs over a map of towns you’ve never heard of. Weather is news.

Nope, that wasn’t it.

There’s this:

“On that side of the Hudson, they really lose sight of the rest of the country,” says Sellers, who grew up in Kentucky. “They view it as flyover country. . . . There’s just a feeling among folks here, ‘Look at what the national media are talking about, they’re not giving any attention to this.’ “

Meh. Not buying that, either. We are “real America,” remember? That’s what the national news media keeps telling us, anyway. And they love “real America,” indeed they’ve invented entire reality TV series around us (“Ice Road Truckers” and “Deadliest Catch,” anyone?). On top of which, the Gulf of Mexico ain’t exactly “coastal elites,” it’s the Redneck Riviera. The oil spill story is taking place in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi. C’mon.

I also don’t think it had anything to do with our lack of looting (which, hate to break it to you, isn’t even true. Yes, we had looters).

And this:

The reasons are more complicated — and troubling — than Music City’s distance from the big media centers. Downtown Nashville was unfortunate enough to be under water while the news business was grappling with two other dramatic stories: the attempted bombing in Times Square and the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Each, of course, raised a bewildering array of questions that could be endlessly debated by the pundits. Was the Obama administration too slow in reacting to the offshore explosion? Why didn’t federal regulators crack down earlier on BP? How could a permit have been issued when the company had no real plan for stopping an oil spill?

And: Why was Faisal Shahzad allowed to board that plane even though he was on the no-fly list? Should the feds have read him his Miranda rights? Were we just lucky that he was a bumbling bombmaker?

Ah, yes. Of course, that kind of nitpickery could have been used to address the Nashville flood story, too. Really, it could have. And that misses the point.

What do a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a thwarted terror attack in a major U.S. city, or a major immigration battle in Arizona (the other story making headlines that weekend) have in common? Fear, of course. These are news stories for which the fear angle can be pushed on a national scale. A flood in Nashville? Not so much.

Add to this the fact that our flood happened so fast–unlike a hurricane, which is tracked for days before landfall–and on a weekend, and on a particular weekend when so many news folks were at the White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, it’s easy to see why the lumbering national news media got caught off guard.

The good news is that the story did get out nationally (the fact that the Washington Post did this column is evidence of that). Not on the traditional national news outlets but on blogs, social media, Twitter. There were shocking photos and compelling videos and wonderful writing. And our local news media, once they figured out that the story was not in the Doppler Radar color blobs but on the ground, in real life, did a good job, too.

The national news media seems to be saying a collective “we’re sorry,” and frankly, I don’t give a damn. Because the fact that you overlooked our story isn’t bad for us. It’s bad for you. It’s just another example of an outdated media model involving gatekeepers and a centralized hierarchy of decision makers that control the information flow which is completely at odds with the current, decentralized model taking hold among actual consumers. The Nashville flood story showed the limitations of the national news media in the inernet/wireless/cellular age.

There will always be a place for the national news media of course, but as far as where people go to get their information, that is getting more personalized and decentralized. You guys no longer hold the keys to the kingdom.


Filed under media, Nashville flood

>How To Take A Shower In A Water Shortage

>1- Get a liquid soap of some kind. I like Dr. Bronner’s because it’s all natural, it lathers up really, really well, and you can buy it by the gallon. Also, it comes in all sorts of yummy varieties (I like the Eucalyptus and Almond Oil scents, but Peppermint is great for really hot days because it leaves your skin tingling).

2- Get a washcloth.

3- Turn on the shower and wet yourself and your washcloth very quickly. Then turn the water off. If you have a hand-nozzle, use that instead of the shower head, as it uses less water.

4- Pour a generous amount of soap into your washcloth and then lather up all over. If you are using Dr. Bronner’s you can also wash your hair with it. Ladies, you can shave your legs and your pits, all without turning the water on. Men, I don’t know what to tell you, except I’ve always thought beards are sexy.

5- Turn on the shower/hand nozzle and rinse yourself off.

And you’re done!

Apparently Nashville is still experiencing a water shortage, so I thought I’d share my little tip.


Filed under Nashville flood

>Stay Stoked, Nashville

>Sean Braisted has a clip from Jon Sewart’s Nashville flood coverage, which I thought was pretty funny.

But God, this Stephen Colbert clip just cracked me up. And you thought I was joking when I said the news showed a guy on a surfboard. Wish I could find it now.

Ah, Nashville. You always make me laugh.

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Nashville Flood Wakeboarder
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

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Filed under Jon Stewart, media, Nashville flood, Stephen Colbert

>Water Water Everywhere & Not A Drop To Drink

>I get e-mail:

Friends –
The message to our fellow citizens regarding the seriousness of the water depletion issue is not sinking in, so to speak. The Metro Water Services Department typically maintains surplus water supplies in excess of 60%. Within the past 72 hours, that level has been depleted to 37% and consumption continues. As stated below, last year at this time, Nashvillians used 81.64 million gallons of water. Yesterday, they used 79.33 million gallons. A whopping 3% reduction. And we still have only one (1) treatment facility (Omohundro) in operation.
Simply put, we cannot continue to use water at current consumption levels or we will be forced to resort to bottled water.
Perhaps you have co-workers who showed up showered, shaved and blow-dried today.  Please let them know the urgency of our current situation and remind them to cut by at least half their water usage rates.  
Remember those scenes in Batman where no one could wear make-up because Jack Nicholson had poisoned it? We’ll look like that for a few days. 
Mike Jameson
Metro Council, 6th District

We seem to be getting mixed messages about the city’s water issue. On the one hand, I heard of someone who pressure washed their walkway this week — as if water were abundant (the clean kind, at least). On the other hand, Metro Water chief Scott Potter yesterday lamented the growing sense of panic causing people to fill their bathtubs, just in case of a shortage.

Neither of these is helpful, folks. Are we so allergic to the word “conservation” in this city that we either willfully ignore the call to conserve, or try to hoard supplies for an expected shortage? C’mon Nashville. You’re better than that.

Here’s what we did in Los Angeles in the ‘70s during the massive drought:

• “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” I don’t think I need to add any more to that.

• If it involves a hose, don’t do it right now. That means no watering gardens (unless you’re like me and have a rain barrel) or washing cars. It’s just for a few days and nothing will die in that time.

• Restaurants should stop serving those glasses of water no one drinks, except on request. It will save loads on dishwashing.

• Do without laundry–wear those jeans one extra day, if possible.

• Showers every other day or, if you can’t do that, turn the shower on just to get wet and rinse off; turn it off while soaping up. Ditto with teeth brushing: don’t leave the faucet on, running into the sink.

Just a few ideas, I’m sure y’all can think of some more.


Filed under Nashville flood



Thanks, dear readers, for your condolences. It really brings the magnitude of the disaster home when something like this happens to people you know. We are so used to seeing these stories on TV … far away …. to strangers. Thank you for your kinds words. Nashville will need a lot of kind words as we dry out and try to get back on our feet.


They found my neighbors, washed away from their vehicle, over by Richland Creek.

They were wonderful people. She was an animal lover who took in strays–five cats and two dogs. We talked a lot about how our pets were like our kids. He was the barbecue king: in the spring he’d pull out a giant smoker and fill the neighborhood with the most delicious smells. He had a killer barbecue sauce recipe which he promised to share with us, teasing that the secret was “a splash of bourbon.” I never got that recipe.

They had just bought a new car and were trying to make it to church Sunday morning. Five minutes after they left home came a call that church was cancelled. Five minutes: the difference between a rainy Sunday and tragedy.

They were good neighbors. Good people. We will miss them.

Opryland Hotel is now under water and I’ve heard reports that it will be closed for up to a year. Downtown’s tourism district is under water: the arena, the symphony hall, the stadium. This will be devastating to Nashville’s tourism business. Devastating to Nashville’s economy, just as we were starting to fight our way back.

We will need help. Lots of help. Keith Olbermann did a nice comment last night, with information on how to help:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Filed under Nashville flood

>Hitting An Off Note

>Tweet of the day:

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Filed under Nashville flood, Tennessee politics

>Don’t Be Cruel

>Brittney Gilbert, formerly of Nashville, writes of her family’s experience in the Nashville flood. Apparently her dad and stepmother had to be evacuated to a shelter where they were greated with this:

They did make it, but once they arrived at the senior citizen center he was told he couldn’t bring his (tiny, tiny) lap dog in the facility. Not sure what they thought he would do with a 3 pound dog in a flood, but since he was told the dog could come, after some bitching, the dog got to stay.

Similarly, a refugee from Antioch staying at the Lipscomb Red Cross shelter had to leave her pet rabbit … in the trunk of her car.

What the hell? Why do we make people abandon their pets when they’ve abandoned everything else in the world? They’ve left their homes, their worldly possessions, they might have lost everything. Why do we tell them they can’t take the one thing that might offer them some comfort–the family pet?

We saw this play out during Hurricane Katrina, we see this play out in every disaster where people seek shelter. No other country does this.

I don’t get it. It’s cruel — not just to the animals, it’s cruel to the people.


Filed under Nashville flood, pets

>After The Deluge


Downtown Nashville, May 2. Photo by Keith Gallagher. See more of Keith’s amazing images here.

We awoke to sunshine.

A sight for weary eyes all across Nashville, let me tell you.

This morning Mr. Beale reminded me that when we were house hunting 10 years ago I out-and-out refused to look at any home that had a creek anywhere nearby. Which let me tell you is a helluva lot of houses around here.

I had forgotten that. My old house near Vanderbilt always had water in the basement whenever it rained (indeed there was a drain in the floor for just such occasions), and that always scared the crap out of me. So we ended up buying a house on a hill with a massive storm water sewer drain behind it, something Public Works had installed years before.

Saved our bacon, let me tell you.

Some general thoughts on the Great Nashville Flood of 2010: Nashville really came through. As we’ve seen with ice storms, tornados, and other natural disasters, when the going gets tough Nashville pulls together. People put their differences aside, the petty squabbling that seems to dominate our regular discourse is discarded, and neighbors start helping one another. People with boats, canoes, kayaks–hell, the news even showed one kid on a surfboard–headed out into the rain to rescue stranded people. Okay, not sure what the kid with the surfboard was doing, but you get my drift.

Nashville, I know I’m hard on you, but you really made me proud. This is why I love you.

And Nashville you also did a great job of keeping people informed. Videos like this one helped bring the news of this disaster to people who had no other way of getting information on the severity of the flooding:

Once again I was amazed at the value of online tools like Twitter to keep me informed. Our local news media: not so much.

For most of Saturday we had Doppler radar color blobs dominating the local news. Let me tell you: a Doppler radar color blob and Lisa Spencer yammering on about “rotation” in some far-flung corner of the viewing area is not helpful. I’m glad our news stations have the money to spend on fancy gadgets like this but from a viewer’s perspective it really is not informative to us. It should be a tool you folks use to determine where to dispatch your reporters.

There was news happening on the ground, actual people stranded in buildings and culverts and cars floating away on I-24 and it took a long time for you guys to catch on to the fact that this is what you should be covering. Not a red blob on a map headed to Waverly or wherever.

Nationally, the news media has been a big fail. Aunt B wonders why we’ve been ignored, and I have to say this is yet more evidence that our glorious 24 hour news is incapable of covering more than two stories at once. Between the Gulf Oil spill, the thwarted Times Square car bomb, the Arizona immigration bill, Nerdprom, and Greece going bankrupt, it seems the poor dears in the national news media were just too tapped out to give any attention to a major metropolitan city drowning.

Again, this proves the value of the internet, and why new media is eclipsing old media in terms of actually informing people.

By the way, over in comments at Aunt B’s was this from Mike Turner:

Just got off a 24 hour shift, my crew at station 3 rescued 148 people and 1 dog in the last 24 hours. There were probably well over a thousand rescued city wide and it’s still going on. The TWRA guys were great, I don’t know what we would have done without their boats.

A hearty round of applause, hugs, beers all around, you name it to Nashville’s tremendous firefighters, EMTs, police officers, and every agency that worked their asses off this weekend. You guys are amazing. We are so grateful to have you. Thank you, thank you.

It will be interesting to see what if any changes the city will experience after the storm. I wonder if people will rethink where they live, where we allow development. I wonder if the great hole downtown where the Music City Center will be is now a giant swimming pool?

I wonder if we will still have our county elections tomorrow, since the voting machines are stored at the Fairgrounds and that was basically a river as of last night?

On a larger scale, I wonder if we will see this storm, not as a freak incident, but rather a sign of what’s to come? An acknowledgment that the earth isn’t some static, dead thing but rather a living system. That things like watershed, mountaintops and forests all serve a purpose, part of which is to protect us from floods and winds and lessen the severity of storms?

Nashville is not out of the woods yet. I just heard that we have some neighbors missing, and we are very concerned for news about them. Down the street from us the Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter and there are hundreds of people who have nowhere to go. Nashville still needs to pull together to get through this mess. Prayers and, as Aunt B notes, some national attention are needed.


Filed under media, Nashville, Nashville flood, Nashville weather