Thursday, 8 March 2012

Water and Dreams


It was with great delight that I found this video clip in the Internet Archive. In it we find Memphis architect Roy Harrover, author of a number of the city's most iconic modern structures, describing the background to the development of the Mud Island park, and proudly showing off the results via a dimly lit slide show, to an audience in Dallas in 1984.

View of the iconic Hernando De Soto Bridge from the "arrivals level"

Then Mud Island was only in its infancy, but nearly 30 years later, it is a sad shadow of its former self. Gone are the five restaurants mentioned here, and the crowds. However, the River Walk model remains impressively intact, and the views of the city's waterfront and the river itself are undiminished by time. I took the kids there on a visit last April, and they loved every minute of it.

View from the island back towards The Pyramid, a much less worthy project

Mississippi River from the southern tip of the island

"Gulf of Mexico" fountain at the end of the River Walk

He alludes to 90 shows in the amphitheatre per season, and indeed, during this time frame, I saw Elvis Costello twice (Nick Lowe/Aztec Camera opening), R.E.M., Merle Haggard, a great Stax review featuring Booker T. & The M.G.'s and Eddie Floyd, and my little brother's band (called Last Exit) at a battle of the bands event in this amazing venue, now largely silent. It's sadly ironic, but hardly surprising to those who know Memphis, that Mr. Harrover closes with a statement of satisfaction that the project seems to have instilled Memphians with a sense of pride in their own heritage - alas, apparently of a highly ephemeral nature.

Kids frolicking ankle-deep in the "mouth of the Mississippi"


Sean Kerr said...

I still think about and tell others about seeing Elvis Costello (Nick Lowe/Aztec Camera opening), at Mud Island. The weather was fantastic - thanks for the reminder. Those were magic nights.

Paul Dudenhefer said...

Thanks so much for this, Jimmy. By the way, I linked to your recent post on Prince Mongo in a Twitter/Facebook update to accompany a picture I took of a window downtown with some old Mongo stuff on it.