NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — While Nashville has experienced a dramatic transformation due to rapid growth in recent years, there is one area of the city that’s steeped in history and slow to change.
Many have gone through great effort to keep the beginnings of 2nd Avenue intact despite two disastrous events. The 1985 fire and the Christmas day bombing in 2020.
Christmas morning, Malory Luciane had a bout of insomnia.
“I actually woke up around 3:45 that morning and couldn’t go back to sleep,” she remembered.
So, she was wide awake when a bomb went off outside her apartment above the Old Spaghetti Factory on 2nd Avenue.
“This huge light and explosion, windows are coming in doors flying open, like some beams are kind of coming down on your ceiling and you don’t know what’s going on,” she described what happened, “My 911 call was essentially my building is collapsing.”
Luciane got dressed, but in the chaos couldn’t find her dog’s leash.
“I’m actually trying to pick my dog up. He’s about 60 pounds, trying to pick him up by his collar. So, he doesn’t step on any debris. And there was a second explosion from a vehicle that was across from the RV. And, it went off behind me. I don’t even remember hearing it. Like that’s how just in shock and just fight or flight I was at that point,” she said.
Luciane eventually made it to the Renaissance Hotel downtown where her dad came to pick her up. But she was without two special things.
“My oldest brother had passed away. I had been given his Titans jersey from when we were children. And, I didn’t have that. And that was just like, I was devastated over that. And then also, my cat was still inside,” she recalled.
In a split-second Christmas morning, so many people lost their homes, their belongings, their businesses and eight artists lost their work.
The 2nd Avenue art wall, featuring female abstract artists in Nashville, was destroyed in the bombing.
“We felt the bomb. It woke us up on Christmas morning. Shook our house,” said Tess Davies. “You know, a year of a pandemic, a year of the tornado, the bombing, I mean, just ended it in such a sad way.”
Davies was one of those artists whose work was ruined. The piece was personal.
“It was a tribute to finding out that my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Davies explained. “The resilience I noticed and the strength I noticed in women fighting breast cancer. I really wanted to kind of move my artwork into spreading breast cancer awareness.”
Her newest mural is one she started outside her home in East Nashville
She described it, “Here’s me and my dog. There’s my husband with his banjo.”
Davies said it showcases the unwavering spirit of the city.
“It definitely is a tribute to just how, how difficult it was to stay connected last year, but how Nashville kind of did it anyways,” she said. “I think that’s really what Nashville is about – is coming together in these traumatic times and experiences.”
Nashville is well on its way to emerging stronger from the tragic events of 2020.
And so is Luciane.
“The first, I would say a month or two were really tough because I couldn’t sleep at night.” She continued, “I went to therapy to get over going through that traumatic experience.”
Shortly after the bombing, her brother’s jersey and her cat were found, unharmed!
Now Luciane has new apartment and new perspective on that fateful Christmas morning.
“As terrible as it was, it really brought people together. And it showed how strong we were. All of us who lived down there, and the people, the businesses, and everyone who was employed down there,” Luciane added, “That is one good thing that came out of it – is this camaraderie of people and support.”
Plans are in the works to reinvent 2nd Avenue without forsaking its rich history.