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Mississippi River Crests

Memphis is open for business

May 11, 2011

"I want to say this: Graceland is safe. And we would charge hell with a water pistol to keep it that way, and I'd be willing to lead the charge," said Bob Nations Jr., Director of the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Mississippi River is rising and creating havoc in many states in the south, but Memphis wants everyone to know that they are open for business. This week is National Tourism Week and time for the Memphis in May festival. Both are great reasons to celebrate and enjoy Memphis.

Tourism officials are saying the river may be high, but we are dry. The Mississippi River crested early today, and business and activities are humming. One downtown attraction has been affected by the high water. Mud Island River Park is temporarily closed due to the lack of access for road traffic and emergency vehicles. All other Memphis attractions are open for business as usual.

Memphis is known as the Bluff City for a reason. The city was founded on the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff, high above the Mississippi River. The original city, now known as the Downtown Core, is the highest elevation along the Mississippi River from Cairo to Natchez. The elevation of Front Street at Union is about 78 feet on the Memphis gauge, or about 30 feet higher than the water is expected to rise.

All other businesses on Mud Island, including the River Inn, Paulette’s, Tug’s and Miss Cordelia’s are open. Mirimichi golf course in Millington, TN, and the Tunica Casinos (located 45 minutes from downtown Memphis in Tunica, MS) are currently closed.

Memphis International Airport has not been affected by the river in any way.
Memphis is accessible by all major highways and roadways. Any detours are clearly marked and should not interfere with a trip into the city. Please visit for more information.

There is some flooding at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Beale Street, which is closed. The entertainment section of Beale Street, between Second and Fourth Streets is untouched by the water and all businesses are open and ready for a Memphis party as always.

Memphis’ world famous hospitality is ready and waiting to welcome you to the home of the Blues. All hotels are open. Memphis Riverboats are welcoming record numbers of visitors for an amazing view of the Mighty Mississippi.

Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is happening as scheduled. The event has relocated to Tiger Lane/Memphis Fairgrounds. A downtown shuttle system will be available for those attending. The Grizzlies are now in the second round of the playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the series is tied at 2-2. The FedExForum has not and will not be affected by the water.

Memphis is open for business
Memphis riverboat on the Mississippi River / Image via


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