Memphis leaders fighting water crisis as thousands visit city

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of sports fans visiting Memphis had no clue the city is battling a water crisis.

“We had no idea,” said Aaron Montemayor, a Fayetteville resident visiting for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

“We just got into town literally about twenty minutes ago,” explained his friend, Gregory Love.

RELATED: MLGW only taking emergency calls; Downtown community office closed

Others drove into only the city only to learn they couldn’t take a shower or drink water at their hotels.

“We were coming down yesterday, all of a sudden we get a call from our hotel,” explained Logan Cleaver. “No water! It’s brown. No pressure.”

Logan Cleaver is a 2021 University of Arkansas graduate. His brother, Luke Cleaver, is a senior at Kansas University.

“We thought about maybe canceling the trip down,” Logan explained. “But this a perfect bowl game for us!”

The brothers joked that they wouldn’t need to boil their favorite beverage for the bowl game.

“They have beer,” explained his brother Luke as the two enjoyed Beale Street. “That’s all the Jayhawks needed to win!”

Restaurants scrambled to accommodate the influx of people during the boil water advisory.

“We are making it happen,” said Kelcie Zepatos, the Arcade restaurant manager on South Main Street. “Today, we had to make this happen.”

RELATED: Few local restaurants open as Mid-South deals with boil water advisories

She told FOX13 she was forced to close the restaurant on Christmas Eve as pipes burst, affecting their toilets. They also had to close Monday because of the boil water advisory.

On Tuesday, staffers scrambled to modify their menu, finding bottled beverages and setting up paper plates for the patrons.

“There are plenty of menu items that don’t include water,” laughed Dickie Bland, a Razorbacks fan from West Memphis. “We’re here drinking a bloody mary!”