Would you live in Memphis if you had things to do over again?

I was reading on a thread on Shoptalk about what some folks consider to be a good place to live in the U-S besides the two coasts and it made me wonder: Would folks in the TV news business here in the MidSouth move to the Memphis area if they had things to do over again.
There are some folks in the Memphis TV market who grew up here but many more who are transplants. I grew up three hours north of here and if somebody had told me that 30-years later I would live in Memphis I would not only have called that person a liar but a damn liar. In the early and mid 70’s, Memphis was not considered a place to move to. I will admit, even in January 1989, my wife and I were living in Charlotte, NC and we both wanted to go to Nashville and she grew up in Memphis. She went to college in Nashville and I went to school just north of there in Bowling Green, KY. We liked the hills and it seemed like it was slightly cooler in climate and culture.
I have since softened on Memphis. Yah, it has a bad reputation when it comes to crime and rightly so and I have never been in a place where race figures into everything. I remember thinking not long after I got here that politicians on both sides (black and white) played the race card in some form or fashion. The recent federal trial of a former state legislator brought forth the latest allegations. Was racism involved? It’s not for me to say and my opinion really doesn’t matter anyway. In my opinion, the divisive issue of race has hurt the city and kept it from being as great as it could be.
A former ND down on the river told me that not only did the ND not like Memphis, this particular ND said “I would not walk across the street to piss on this city if it were on fire”. I’ve thought about this on occasion since that ND left and another from out of town stepped in to fill that office.
I know there are better places to live and I know there are worse places to live. Memphis has a miriad of problems but so do other cities. But my question remains: Knowing what you know about the city of Memphis, if you had to do things all over again, would you move to the Bluff City area again or would you say no way? I’m just looking for opinions.

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17 Comments on “Would you live in Memphis if you had things to do over again?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Memphis is a soulful place. There is a spark of pride at times, here and there, that make you think it isn’t all bad to live in the Bluff City. However, if I could go back and choose again, I wouldn’t have moved to Memphis (and I am Black). Crime isn’t number one on my list of reasons ( it’s like number two). To me, it is the mentality of people in the city –basically the area–that turns me off. Memphis has some good people and a few good things about the city. But until Memphis grows out of the racial debates and the “backwards” way of moving forward–Memphis will always be looked at (by the rest of the U.S.)as a mediocre backwards town and not an esteemed American city. And then again, when life is good, who cares?

  2. John Harvey Says:

    Colorado Springs, CO or several other cities in the Rocky Mountains are much more alluring to me than the hot, sticky, mucky, politician infested place. But, I’ve got so many family members here, I guess I’m stuck for a while.

    The short answer is no, Memphis would be ranked at the bottom because of the crime, taxes and schools.

  3. newsboyarizona Says:

    I just spoke to someone tonight who graduated from the ole’ Memphis State U. once upon a time like me. I don’t know what I expected when I went to Memphis for school. I just know that whatever it was, I didn’t get it. But I did grow to like Memphis. It’s a different place with lots of history, much more than the place I live in now. Don’t miss the humidity at all. But the politics and race relations actually make it a much more colorful and engaging place to live than, say, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which I lived in for a short time and is its own kind of hell on earth. And it’s not about CR’s frigid weather, but its totally lack of culture, diversity, and character. Yes, there are stupid people in Memphis with an odd backwards mentality. But surprise!!!! Those people live everywhere. Memphis isn’t all that bad, and many times, I miss it. Especially when I make the mistake of eating at a barbeque restaurant that isn’t in Memphis.

  4. Average Guy Says:

    Great question. I lived a good portion of my life in Memphis. I don’t live their now but have many friends and family who do and I miss them.

    Memphis has many things in its favor. As stated above, it has “soul”. Atlanta has no image, Nashville is plastic and most of the large cities in the new south have no unique identity like Memphis.

    If I’m young and single and looking for a fun town to establish myself, yes I’d move to Memphis. If I’m established and or looking to grow my career while starting a family — NO WAY. The quality of life where I live is so superior to my hometown, as it the quality of life in many other cities.

    Memphis is very isolated. It’s not really a Tennessee city, it is more of a Mississippi city but it is not in Mississippi. Other major cities are not a short drive away.

    Every city has race and political issues. The difference in Memphis and where I now live is that here, a project is proposed and then it is built — on schedule and on budget. In Memphis, they have the same great ideas but once the project is proposed the fight begins over who gets what and then the delays come and the costs go up.

    Would I move back? Once my kids are grown, maybe.

    The GM

  5. mike Says:

    I arrived here by accident (long story) almost twenty years ago. I love the place and consider it home now. It’s a small town trying to be made into a big city. We’d do better to continue to think small. It’s the folks who want to drag Memphis kicking and screaming into a “world class” status that are part of the problem. We’re better suited as a regional capital.

    Memphis’ race problems seem to be either the eternal struggle for payback or using grievance as a justification for present-day bad behavior. It really has no solution, I think.

    Lots of problems? Sure. But I love all the little details of living here. (Remember Dancing Jimmy?) That’s what makes it special.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    To Mike…

    Nobody but you knows who Dancing Jimmy is. Maybe Memphis should continue to think small, but Memphis has alot of talent and potential that [certain] people want to keep in the background hidden..like Dancing Jimmy (thank god).

    Anyway, it is true that other cities have the same problems as Memphis–in one way or another. I suppose we who live in Memphis should appreciate the few positive attributes until another great career opportunity comes calling, eh?

  7. jamey tucker Says:

    I doubt I would do it all over again. I found Memphis to be unlike any other place I’ve ever lived before. Some of that was okay, but by and large most of it wasn’t okay.
    We lived in Shelby County only 6 months before moving to DeSoto County. I liked DeSoto County very much and probably would not have stayed for the 9 years had we lived in Memphis.
    I remember a producer coming for a job interview from Huntsville shortly after I arrived in Memphis in 1997. He watched the newscasts and told the news director “I’m really not impressed. I think the newscasts in Huntsville are better than this larger market”. Pride made a lot of us shake off his comment and roll our eyes at this small-time producer. But I think if we were all honest, we might agree with him.
    I made quite a few life-long friends in Memphis and am happy for the experience, but if I knew now what I didn’t know then? I’d probably have stayed away.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Memphis definitely isn’t for everyone. Some people just aren’t interested in digging their heels into a city, and that’s their loss. It is what you make it.

    Yes, you have to deal with certain factors that are undesirable, as you do in any city, but I don’t think that makes Memphis sub-par; we’re several years behind some other Southern cities in our growth, and I can’t help but think that it’s likely the Atlantas and Nashvilles went through the same growing pains 20 years ago. Was Atlanta was a pleasant place to live in the early 80’s?

    The fact that our leadership isn’t good at leading doesn’t help our situation, but again, it’s up to US to change that. Complaining about our politicians, race relations, etc. won’t get anything done. One thing that kills Memphis is the laziness of some of its residents. When the going gets tough, they pack up and move to the outlying counties so they can wash their hands of it, instead of trying to create change.

    I agree with GM’s comments that Memphis has an identity all its own…people who live in Memphis and get involved figure it out pretty quickly that it is a special place…you just have to dust it off a little.

  9. dave Says:

    I may actually face this very question in a few months. And I don’t know what my decision will be. I really enjoyed *working* in Memphis but disliked *living* in Memphis.

    Hopefully I can decide before the time comes.

  10. AMNewsBoy Says:

    Joe, your post reminded me of this file and this file I pulled from MidSouth TV News (when it was still up and running). No viruses; but a little too much beige. Enjoy!

  11. Joe Larkins Says:

    Geez, where did you find that stuff. I can’t believe they let some kid like that loose on the air.
    Thanks for the blast from the past and a rather humbling reminder of yesteryear.
    Plus, you’re right: too much beige.

  12. Andy Wise Says:

    I don’t regret and never will regret moving to Memphis nine years ago. I love the city’s character, its history, even its flaws. Try living in Atlanta where I grew up. Shoot, the traffic alone is a reason not to move there. The race issue…man, we’ll be flying around in Jetson cars, and race will still be an issue here. It’s one of the city’s flaws I’ve learned to accept.

  13. bishop Says:

    People who have never had to deal with race, can find it easy to say race is not a big issue for them. Race wil always be an issue until people minds mature on both sides. Memphis is a great place to be and has improved over the years. This is my home.

  14. LeftWingCracker Says:

    i have lived here since 1972, graduated HS here (Whitehaven ’77) went to college here and worked here.

    In the ’80s, I thought repeatedly about leaving, but never did. I’m glad I stayed.

    For all of its problems, leadershipwise (and followership, too), there are lots of reasons to stay, if you can live in a relatively crime-free area.

    Among them: the Center for Southern Folklore and its Memphis Music & heritage Festival, the river, the relative lack of traffic problems in the city itself, the people, the bloggers!

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Who was the other guy in the first clip?

  16. Joe Larkins Says:

    The second guy in the clip is Tim Chuey (chewy). I’m not sure that I spelled his name correctly but he used to be the second weather guy at WHBQ before they made some cutbacks in the late 80’s early 90’s. He was a super nice guy and left Memphis for a weather gig in Oregon.
    A friend of mine who lived in the Medford, Oregon area a while back said he saw him on the air there.

  17. FedexRazorback Says:

    Memphis has some good points however, No, If I had it all to do over again, I would never have moved to Memphis. ( I do miss the BBQ though !!!)

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