So, Your Town is Under Water…

I have been thinking a lot these past few days about the people of Keithsburg, Illinois, whose town flooded, in part, to try to save the whole town. The Corps blew a levee along a creek to try to take some pressure off the levee along the Mississippi.

We moved near there the next year.

My co-worker that year was a woman whose house had been intentionally sacrificed to save the town, which sat under water for many, many weeks.

I have been thinking about her lately and her family and friends, for obvious reasons, but also because I think there’s this idea setting in that, if only we all pitch in and clean up and get things back how they were that everything will be okay.

And I just want to say, out loud, that that’s not going to happen. We are not going to get things back how they were. You don’t often get a clear demarcation between ‘how things used to be’ and ‘how they are now,’ but we have one.

I’m not saying that things won’t be okay. Eventually they will be.

I’m saying, this is going to fuck us up. Already, people are doing fucked up shit–even if we weren’t having a water shortage, who would water their flowers after all the rain we had this weekend? A person who is doing some fucked up shit, that’s who.

I can’t quite put my mind around how I want to say this. So, this isn’t going to be eloquent.

But here’s the thing. We’re not going back to how it used to be. Even if the physical city ends up looking the same, we have changed. We have changed in ways that will be very fucked up. And it’s okay. Just be aware.

And we need to have mercy on each other about this. The hard part is not what happened over the weekend. The hard part is going to be living with what happened.

Anyway, that’s it.

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19 thoughts on “So, Your Town is Under Water…

  1. Pingback: Two Worlds | Speak to Power

  2. I made the remark the other night that the flood is a line in the sand regarding Nashville. There was before the flood and after the flood.

    As in, 10 years from now, we meet someone and we’ll say “were you here before the flood?” — if so, we’ll have that knowing glance.

    And you’re right – we won’t be the same – but I truly hope – and honestly believe – we will be BETTER.

  3. I’m a little frustrated, and a little angry, so pardon this quick rant.

    It’s not just a “the way things were” vs “now” question.
    Most in Nashville know that Charlotte pike near Whitebridge flooded. Did anyone see any reporting about the area behind there? I didn’t.

    As far as I can tell, the reason Charlotte flooded is the creek that runs near it. I might be wrong about it, but I’m not wrong about the creek being near there. Because it DID flood, and it took out an entire section of town.

    The intersection of Del Ray and Urbandale is a nightmare, and hasn’t seen a news truck (other than the weather channel.. … which was odd).

    Because they are poor.

    A metro assessment team rolled through the neighborhood yesterday. They stopped to ask what street they were about to turn onto, because everything was so overwhelming it disoriented them. When I asked how it was in other areas, they said it was bad, but nowhere near as bad as this.

    But all the news is focused on Belleview. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got friends and memories out west in that area too, but they aren’t they only ones hurting.

  4. I guess what that rant is trying to say… Tennessee still has major issues. It has class disparities that are absolutely shocking, and those disparities were not washed away by the flood waters. Instead, the people who everyone is focused on aren’t the ones who need the most help.

    It’s even more blindingly obvious in this disaster then in day to day life, and more heartbreaking to me. We could be using this as a moment to notice and start to address these problems, but instead it’s just business as normal.

  5. Polerin, I was just talking this morning with a young woman who was an intern in my office last summer. She’s from New Orleans, so she was wildly sympathetic about the flooding (a lot more than I personally need, having suffered nothing more than inconvenience), but also terribly frustrated at not being able to find updates. And as I was giving her an overview by neighborhoods, I realized that I’m assuming that a lot of areas are OK because I haven’t heard anything about them. Which is bound to lead to misunderstanding and misinformation.

    Someone needs to put together a city map with notes about what is affected in which ways.

  6. I would love to have an overview of who and what are affected and how badly. We are okay–thank God–but a go mile in every directio. And you see standing water many feet deep. Given the fact that this is a region of hills and vales it’s bound to be like that everywhere.

  7. My boyfriend, a resident of Nashville for five years, has been out of the country for six months. Last night I was telling him how devastating it is to be here. How completely screwed we are with out some investors coming in to rebuild. How fiercely protective I suddenly feel of what Nashville will become. And just how different everything feels, not just from the water and the wreckage, but because you can feel everything changing and you know none of it will be the same for those of us here.

    His response was that he was sure everything but Opryland would be back to normal in a few weeks.

    I felt like screaming. I still do just thinking about it. I recognize that people not here don’t know how bad it is. And yet I have this sense that everyone outside TN thinks we just got a little wet and muddy.

    I work for a civil engineering firm and it’s like someone stirred up an anthill over here. I can’t even express how wounded I feel going home every night after looking at all the pictures the inspectors have taken during the day of damaged bridges and roadways. Who can even afford to fix all this? How can we make sure the folks that need jobs have the job of helping? But most importantly where will the money come from? We were already broke.

  8. Polerin, don’t even worry about ranting. You’re raising important points. Different areas of town, which were under water, are experiencing this very differently.

    And I’m with Cricket in regards to how much I worry about just how this is going to be put right and what it means in a state with 10% unemployement (higher in specific counties) that a shit ton of people who already were unemployed or underemployed have just lost everything else?

  9. Yes, and with the very areas hit hardest being some of the city’s main source of income? Let alone all that farmland.

  10. And just think of all the people who worked at places like Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills. There were easily 1,000 workers at those places, and most are hourly. They won’t be paid while their places of employment are being repaired. That’s a double whammy that hits those who can least afford it – lose your home and/or possessions and your source of income all in one go.

  11. I’m hearing timelines of “6-8 months closed” for Opryland hotel and the mall.

    Six to 8 months without several major employers AND several sources of income.

    My head spins.

  12. No only that, Kat, but Opryland alone accounts for 1/5th of Davidson’s tax base. That’s going to hurt.

    I saw a Google Map that people could annotate with flooding damage, but now I can’t find it. I thought it was put together by the Tennessean, but now there’s just a 404 error. Does anyone know where it is?

  13. Can we put a stake through the heart of the Music City Center now? Pretty please?

    Where in hell are we gonna get the money after all this?

  14. According to the CEO of Gaylord this morning on Channel 2, the timeline is 3 months to open the hotel at the moment. But the anchors did say Gaylord would be doing a presser sometime soon to talk about it.

    The work on Music City Center is still going on this week. Lots of equipment running around out there, but I can’t tell what’s going on because the rain apparently knocked out the webcam.

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