May 11, 2015
We met up with Angela on a moderately chilly Friday evening before her night out on the town starting with a photography exhibit at Memphis College of Art and then seeing one of her favorite bands from high school, Dryvin & Cryin, at Minglewood Hall. Angela Edmondson has lived in Memphis her whole life aside from the 5 years she spent at Texas Christian University for college. She’s been living and working in downtown Memphis for about 8 years and is seasoned in her perception of the area by both the things that stand the test of time and the changes that she’s seen define its modern era and hint towards the future.
Angela, now a nurse at Methodist University Hospital, was formerly a graphic designer at national architecture and interior design firm Looney Ricks Kiss in downtown Memphis. While at LRK, Angela oversaw much of the design of AutoZone Park.
Angela says that when it was completed in 2000 the “AutoZone Park project really balanced” the arrangement of attractions in downtown Memphis. She feels that downtown has been building up around its edges with developments such as the South Main district, AutoZone Stadium, Beale Street Landing, Bass Pro Shops and FedEx Forum leading the way, but she can’t wait until the traffic from these developments along the periphery attract more business that will continue to fill in the rest of downtown the same way water fills an ice tray.
Her favorite activities on the river are walking her dog and hanging out with friends. Angela loves the way the water brings people out and creates opportunities to interact. As for her favorite places, the list is pretty long. If given the chance to give a visitor an itinerary of places to go in the city she would include: the trio Angela and her friends call the “animal bars” (The Silly Goose, Bardog Tavern, and Blind Bear), the Civil Rights Museum, Memphis College of Arts, Sun Studio, the Stax Museum and the downtown rooftop parties that make for a great night in the summer.
A sense of community through living downtown really radiated from Angela. She described it as “one big neighborhood” and mentioned how she loved meeting new people and reuniting with old friends whether it be hanging out at a bar or walking around on Main St. This downtown Memphian really sees the area near the river as a large gathering place, something that gets people out of the house.
When asked what she would consider to be “so Memphis” Angela answered Memphis in May. She said that it wasn’t just the fun, but the way that the festivals have grown and become ambassadors of Memphis to the world. It is this growth that Angela feels personifies her city and the strides it has made over time. In three words, Angela would describe downtown Memphis as a growing, diverse neighborhood.
Although pleased with her experience downtown, there are a few things that the nurse would like to see added including: a small grocery store in the area, an outdoor pool where people that don’t live in an apartment complex with a pool could frequent and a shuttle that loops between downtown and mid-town.