Residents, Catholic Charities Work to Move Forward in North Nashville

Tags: Currents Catholic Charities, Crux, Faith, Inspiration, Media, Nashville Tornado, National News, Natural Disaster, Tennessee

By Emily Drooby

Roofs blown off buildings, trees ripped from the ground and homes torn from their foundation are the view Patrice Sherrell sees when she looks out her backyard. 

Her north Nashville neighborhood was one of the hardest hit by the tornadoes. 

“My little millennial across the street right here said, ‘What do we do? I said, ‘Call your momma.’” Patrice told Currents News.

“I was in the front watching television on the couch when all that went up,” she recalled. “It picked it up and set it back down, and all I heard was explosions.”

The winds were so strong debris shot through her home like a bullet past her drywall, down the hallway and out the other side. Her roof was also badly damaged. 

“That’s what woke me up,” she explained. 

So when Patrice woke up, the roof “was up, and I went that way,” she said. 

Patrice has decided to stay in her home, but many of her neighbors don’t have that option.  

“For some of these other people, it’s just really heartbreaking,” said Misty Roberts, a volunteer for the McGruder Family Resource Center in North Nashville, which is operated by Catholic Charities.

“I’ve seen a lot of people with their children coming in, they had nothing, they lost everything they had,” she said. “We fed them, gave them hot lunches, clothes, diapers, wipes, baby food, shoes.”

She estimates that they’ve helped about 2,000 people in just the one day after the storm.  

In the historically African American neighborhood of north Nashville, there’s an extra layer of fear added to the already devastating tornado destruction. 

Gentrification has recently been creeping into the neighborhood, with some fearful the disaster could speed up that process.  

“Some people are like renters and they might not find a place to stay in Nashville, they might have to go to Clarksville or some other county,” explained Misty. 

Now uncertainty, fear, and devastation are the new normal for this neighborhood.