How does one begin to sum up the days since the tornado? Nothing could have prepared us for the realities we now experience. Perhaps there’s comfort in knowing the uncertainty is something we all share. Even so, we are well aware that the hardship hasn’t been evenly spread.
The March|April edition of The East Nashvillian was originally slated for a March 4 upload. We postponed, for obvious reasons. While no one in the EN family was directly impacted by tornado damage, its effects immediately rippled through all of our lives. We were heartbroken.
So, we retooled the magazine with a view towards documenting this tragic event as best we could, with an eye towards historical perspective. Not just random shots of storm damage and the immediacy of it,— rather, presenting the experience in a way someone might be able to relate in a year, or 20 years, from now. Even the cover was given an overhaul; it turns out Robben Ford lives on Forrest Avenue just two blocks north of the devastation along Holly Street.
The community came together. Benefit shows were held, with many more to follow. Then …
The 5 Spot didn’t suffer tornado damage but was without power for a week; it reopened on March 11, the night of the president’s Oval Office address about the coronavirus. The next day, as we were finally ready to upload, Todd Sherwood came by the EN office to do some work (the internet still wasn’t on at the club and was sketchy at his home). He showed me an announcement he’d prepared: The 5 Spot would close again immediately in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The next day, a National Emergency was declared. By Sunday, Mayor Cooper had shuttered bars & clubs and banished public gatherings. A community reeling from having its economic heart severely impacted by the tornado — which had banded together to help one another through volunteerism, benefit shows, and hugs — was now faced with isolation and a grave existential threat
How can anyone really be equipped, psychologically speaking, to deal with having the sands beneath their feet shift so quickly? There’s no precedence for it in our collective experience. Like you, we are navigating these uncharted waters as best we can.
The magazine made it through the gauntlet. Fifteen thousand copies arrived on Monday. The vast majority of our distribution drops are closed; some no longer exist. We’ve been in contact with civic leaders about what protocols apply and they support our decision to pursue limited distribution, which began on Tuesday and focused on our outdoor distribution boxes. We are also talking to restaurants that provide take-out services about stocking magazines. Other ideas are in the works. As always, the magazine will be available online.
Some of the editorial already in place prior to the tornado remains. Now, looking at it, it feels like a snapshot of the moment between when the East Side changed … and the whole world changed.
Outdoor Distribution Box Locations:
|107 S. 11th St.
|The 5 Spot
|1006 Forrest Ave.
|Margaret Maddox YMCA
|2624 Gallatin Pike
|4 Stop Market
|1401 Woodland St
|1907 Eastland Ave.
|2038 Greenwood Ave.
|1300 Clinton St.
|65 Arcade Alley
|Arnold’s Country Kitchen
|605 8th Ave. S.
|505 12th Ave. S.
|1812 21st Ave. S.
|4014 Hillsboro Circle