Bigger than your backyard

Please go to the emergency site and the recovery site for the most updated information. 1,200 students lost nearly everything they have. Their cars were thrown and rolled across the parking lots. Computers, books, basically all of their livelihood was laying out for the world to see. And that’s all you could do was look, because hardly anything was worth saving.

To help this cause, click here.


Chima, a 26-year-old grad student at Union University, looks at the dorm room he lived in when he was an undergrad. The dorm was ripped apart by a tornado that was a part of over 50 tornadoes that tore through the Southern states.  

54 people died. By grace or dumb luck, I am not a number.  

Over 55 tornadoes were confirmed across the Southern states. The damage was so severe that President Bush is planning a trip to the worst parts of Tennessee Friday according to the New York Times. I imagine Jackson, Tn could be in the mix.

Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee said 1,000 houses were destroyed. Not damaged. Destroyed.

In Jackson, Matt Taylor, a junior at Union University, was scouring the campus Wednesday for his Jeep after a close call that left him with staples in his scalp and bandages on his leg.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Taylor hunkered down in Waters Commons, a residence hall, when the sirens went off, but when a door blew open he was sucked outside, bringing with him a gum-ball machine he had grabbed hold of. “By the time I got back in, it exploded,” he said of the building.

Although 80 percent of the residential section of the campus was demolished or severely damaged, there were no fatalities, for which officials credited the college’s disaster plan. Across the region, residents said they owed their lives to warning systems. “

 By Shaila Dewan and Brenda Goodman
-New York Times

Don’t take my word, or the Times. Take that of the people who lived it. Click here to listen to audio taken at the scene by the Times.

Cars were thrown into buildings, away from parking lots and stacked on top of each other at Union University when a tornado shredded campus. Vehicles could be found hundreds of feet away from the parking lots that they were originally parked in.

A police officer works to clear an area of students and media.

A door lost its utility after the barrier that stood between it and the dorms was blown down.

Charles E. Smith, of the Search and rescue squad Tennessee Task Force 1, sits with his partner’s dog, Keno, as the group finishes up their search for survivors at Union University. The group found no bodies, alive or dead, and said the Jackson Fire Department found all of the students who were trapped in the destroyed dorms the night before.

Dorms were left with no walls, and belongings were thrown across the lawn.

This was a great experience for me. Not because I got great pictures from this event. My pictures aren’t nearly as good as the ones the students on that campus took. My experience came from how the newspaper decided to handle me on that day, how I handled them and everything in between.

 This day also has made me to decide to take Sean Blanda’s idea of the theme, If I ran a newspaper I’d, and just turn it to If I ran a newspaper. I have lessons coming.

In between the lines:
He pravails?


2 Responses to “Bigger than your backyard”

  1. I saw a picture of the brown slab that my friend and her ten sorority sisters huddled behind as the tornado ripped through their dorm. It’s incredible that no one was seriously killed or injured.

    Good pictures, friend. I especially like the one of the door; I’ve seen a couple other frames of it, and yours is by far my favorite.

    I think I’ve said this a few times, but I’m so glad you and Britney and Elliott and everyone else is safe.

  2. I -love- the doorframe and the W picture!

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