Some More Pictures and A Correction

Posted: March 29, 2008 in The Roper Files

FILE23 EXCLUSIVE !

I’m probably the only guy on the Internet honest enough to admit this, but I made a mistake. Yes you read correctly; I made an error on Eight Years Ago Today.

It was March 28 not March 20 that the tornado came through Fort Worth in 2000. Don’t even ask me what I was thinking; do my research next time. Sorry.

Was going through a box of old photos this week and found a set of black and white pictures I shot during the three days after the tornado. I used the same method all three days.  I would park in Forest Park and walk to Ground Zero on foot carrying a tripod and a shoulder bag containing all my photography equipment. Driving around wasn’t an option for a number of reasons. Traffic lights weren’t working, there were a million people driving around rubber-necking at the damage ( I witnessed several accidents ) and if this wasn’t bad enough I noticed as I walked the streets were paved with nails, screws and other tire-puncturing debris.

Shot about a half-dozen rolls of film during these three days using a Canon AV1 and three different lenses. Most of the pictures were in color but the black and whites have an eerie quality to them the color ones don’t.

trashed-two.jpg

This is the Cash America building. It was a well-kept secret prior to the tornado, but the ATF and FBI both had offices here. This building took a direct hit from the west side. Here we’re looking at the east side. I’m on a hill across the street here.

ca-closeup.jpg 

This is using a 200mm zoom lens; this is about the third floor, just above the tips of the flagpoles in the first photo. Despite the damage to the building a lamp sits on a desk, books remain on shelves. Pictures remain on the wall; just amazing.

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Down below out in the parking lot ATF agents were busy loading file cabinets and office equipment into a moving van as one wrecker after another drags off the trashed vehicles. Two female ATF agents have their backs to me. The one on the left was a hefty Marsha Warfield clone; the one on the right was a cute redhead.

Now here’s a long-haired guy across the street on a stage-like hill shooting pictures of ATF agents with a tripod. My zoom lens is the size of a beer can; could I have been more obvious? See the blurry man to the right of the two women? He saw me and was heading in my direction. I quickly scooped up my equipment and said feet do yo stuff. Good thing I was wearing my “felony shoes” that day. 

m-lick-tower.jpg 

Two nearby damaged building: above is the M Lick Tower.

OK I’m kidding; it’s really the Mallick Tower. If you look closely you can see one of the Ls hanging on by a thread. And across the street was this non-denominational church:

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Two women actually rode out the tornado and survived up in the steeple!

st-bogus-two.jpg 

It’s probably where they kept the safe and they were up there counting money when the tornado hit but can you imagine opening the door, looking out and finding THIS below you? And below is looking east up Seventh Street towards a downtown looking like Godzilla just strolled through:

downtown-two.jpg 

On the west side of the Trinity, just east of the monolithic (and heavily damaged)  Montgomery Wards building was this street. I had a job for ten years down the street from here and turned down the same street as the car here every day. There was a auto body shop on one corner and a cinder-block building on the other not that you can tell from this shot. This was in the direct path of the tornado.

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In the next two shots a local news crew prepares for a shoot in front of a heavily devastated duplex. This is the Linwood neighborhood just west of the Montgomery Wards building. Back in the early 60s a young couple named Lee and Marina Oswald rented a house in this neighborhood, but I don’t know which one.

news-crew.jpg 

The yuppie Hispanic reports primps and gives the duplex a sneer Elvis would have been proud of and says something along the lines of: “Can you believe someone actually lived in this dump?” before she goes on camera and tearfully emotes about the “poor hard-hit hard-working people of the Linwood neighborhood”

getting-into-character.jpg 

If he wasn’t big enough to send me flying over the Wards building in the background it would have been funny to drop a pencil down the ass-crack of the black soundman in the foreground. 

We’ve got about another two or three months of spring here in Texas. This could all happen again anytime. Or it might not. But when the sky turns the wrong color, I still get a little leary. Keep watching the skies; like I got nothing else to do.

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