Wednesday, February 6

Stormy weather

hickory ridge mall

I drove down to Hickory Hill to do some quality rubbernecking this morning (what? it's citizen journalism), but my efforts were thwarted by the Memphis PD, which had all the streets around the mall blocked off. Everyone else in the city seemed to have had the same idea as I had, though, as the streets were choked with traffic — the kind of traffic that doesn't really have any place to be in particular, but just wants to shuffle around and see what it can see.

Even though you couldn't see the major damage from the road (unless you managed to go westbound on Winchester, which I did not), you could still make out little clues everywhere that things were amiss. Bits of insulation blew across parking lots like leaves. Signposts were lying down or twisted. The trees that were still standing seemed like they'd taken a beating, and some of them housed bits of broken buildings.

So, I didn't park and hoof it around to Sears, where the bulk of the damage occurred. Instead, I maneuvered my way over to the World Overcomers Church just a couple of blocks from the mall to see if their pride and joy was still standing. And indeed it is. God smote the Sears and all the evil household appliances but left Lady Religiosity standing. Hallelujah and amen.

Last night was probably the most stressful night of work I've ever had. Previously, that title went to the night when I had to lay out all the zoned B section covers, jumps, and region pages (zoning was new and we were still experimenting with the best way to distribute the workload among designers; that was clearly not the best way, as it aged me five years that night). We had big Super Tuesday plans, and then the storm rolled through and got serious, and around the time they evacuated the entire building to the basement (for at least half an hour), we realized we were probably going to need to rip up A1 and focus on the storm.

And as soon as we tried to get going again, we were evacuated again. And the shit of it is that we were still expected to hit our regular deadlines. Which we did not. Because we're not machines, dammit.

One of our features designers called us from home and asked if there had been any damage to our building. As far as I knew, no, I told her. She said she was asking because someone had called her and said a Nashville news station was reporting that the CA had been leveled. ???

I'm beginning to wonder if Jackson is positioned in some weird vortex of tornado suckage that would explain why it gets hit nearly every year. My mom grew up in Jackson and said she doesn't remember it ever having the tornado troubles it's had in the past decade. Jackson's in a constant state of rebuilding after tornadoes.

Savannah and even Morris Chapel got their share of damage too. My sister's car's windshield was busted out by hail, and her husband's church (Sharon Baptist) was apparently leveled. Everyone in my family is safe, though, so I'm thankful for that.

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Blogger Wendy said...

Thanks for your citizen journalism!

This is Wendy from the American Red Cross.

If you or your readers want to follow the Red Cross response to the tornadoes, visit:

or follow Twitter updates at


Wed Feb 06, 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Chris and Kate Lareau said...

While I am, admittedly, a geek, I sure do love reading about having to "tear up A1" and start again. Or however you said it. It reminds me of an old Jimmy Stewart movie or something. I don't want to call it old-fashioned, cause I love my newspaper. But something about the physical nature of having to make changes and beat deadlines because of late, breaking news is exciting and nostalgic, all at once. Having expressed myself poorly and fulfilled my own typecasting as geek,

Wed Feb 06, 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous grandefille said...

We're so glad all your folks are okay. I was worrying about them when I heard it was going through Savannah and Saltillo.

Fri Feb 08, 09:28:00 AM  

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