Memphis is still open for business, city and county mayors say - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is still open for business, city and county mayors say

(WMC-TV) - Amid national and international reporting about the floods in Memphis, Mayor A C Wharton sent a clear message Tuesday about his city: It is still open for business.

According to Wharton, pictures don't always tell the whole story.

"The city is 345 square miles," he said. "Less than one tenth of that is under water. But when you see the pictures, you get the impression that the entire city is under water."

Wharton laid out a long list of big business that didn't miss a beat during the floods.

"Our commercial activity is booming," he said. "Beale Street's open, Graceland's open, downtown is open, the Forum is open and St. Jude is open. So we're open. School is going on. The colleges and universities are having graduation exercises."

According to the latest data, Wharton said, more than half of the 3,075 homes flooded in Memphis were already vacant. So the floods have impacted only .55 percent of the population - less than one percent.

"Most of the areas where it's really flooded of any scope are in the uninhabited areas," he said.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said things could have been worse.

"Certainly some people who have felt the pain of this flood," he said. "It hasn't been nearly as bad as it could have been."

Luttrell credited the work of first responders and engineers.

"Our levees have held," he said. "Our retaining ponds have worked the way that they're supposed to. I think we were well prepared for this."

Wharton encouraged people to tour the swollen Mississippi River.

"Tours on the Mississippi were never stopped," he said. "You can still take the tours and see the Mississippi."

Wharton added that the flood waters were no match for Memphis' home team.

"The Grizzlies will play Friday night and win, and go onto the championship," he said.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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