Published: May 05, 2010 11:06 AM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The blazing fiddles and screaming

guitars at Nashville's famed downtown honky-tonks are a little

quieter as the city recovers from flash flooding blamed for 28

deaths in three states.

Elsewhere in Nashville, the Country Music Hall of Fame has

closed and the Grand Ole Opry - the most famous country music show

in the world - had to move its performances.

The Cumberland River, which winds through the heart of the city,

spilled over its banks as Nashville received more than 13 inches of

pounding rain over the weekend. The flash floods were blamed in the

deaths of 17 people in Tennessee alone, including nine in

Nashville. Other deaths were reported in Kentucky and Mississippi.

None of the deaths were in the city's entertainment district, a

five-block square of honky-tonks and restaurants downtown where

animated barkers often stand outside at night encouraging patrons

to step inside. But some businesses had to shut down - a blow to

Nashville's economy and reputation as a freewheeling town. The city

has more than 11 million visitors annually.

Floodwaters receded in many parts of the city Tuesday, although

the river was still over its banks. Residents who had frantically

fled their homes returned to find mud-caked floors and soggy


The water at the Country Music Hall of Fame was mostly confined

to a mechanical room and did not get in the exhibit area where 112

of country's greatest stars are chronicled in down-home tributes.

At the Opry, five miles northeast of the entertainment district,

performer Marty Stuart said he feared water had destroyed

instruments, costumes, audio tapes, boots and "just everything

that goes along with the Opry and Opry stars."

Singer Chris Young said a special Opry show Tuesday night at the

War Memorial Auditorium was a welcome diversion for many residents.

Hundreds of people turned out.

"A lot of people coming here have lost either their houses,

their possessions or their cars in the storm," he said.

Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed says it will be at least

three months before the massive entertainment complex that also

includes the Opryland Hotel and the Opry Mills Mall has guests


Rita Helms, a customer service representative at the Opry, said

some workers have been distraught.

"It's very sad for the employees and a few have even been in

tears," she said.

One of the downtown honky-tonks still open is Robert's Western

World - "Nashville's undisputed home of traditional country

music" as it proclaims on its website.

"There's not much that can shut us down," bartender Sammy

Barrett said in a telephone interview as country music blared in

the background.

The entertainment district is generally filled with a mix of

tourists and locals - all out for a hand-clapping good time. Some

people still milled around the area Tuesday.

"They like the vibe they get here," said Jimmy (The Governor)

Hill, who works for a downtown bar and a restaurant. "The bands

start playing at 10 in the morning; you don't have things like that

in every town."

Mayor Karl Dean also was undeterred. "We will go on being a

center of tourism and drawing people to our city," he said.

Some entertainment venues weren't damaged, including the former

home of the Grand Ole Opry, the 118-year-old Ryman Auditorium. A

Barenaked Ladies concert there next Monday is still scheduled.

On the other side of the river, LP Field, the home of the

Tennessee Titans, was drying out: The Titans' logo could once again

be seen from the air. A four-day country music festival will be at

the stadium in five weeks.

The production of country music in the city also seems have

survived unscathed from the more than 13.5 inches of rainfall that

fell Saturday and Sunday. "Music Row" - an approximately

four-square block area that houses recording studios, record

labels, song publishing companies and others on the business side

of the music industry - is a mile from the river and wasn't


The water swelled most of the area's lakes, minor rivers,

creeks, streams and drainage systems far beyond capacity. Much of

that water then drained into the Cumberland, which snakes through


The weekend's storms that spawned tornadoes along with flash

flooding also killed six people in Mississippi and four in

Kentucky. One person was killed by a tornado in western Tennessee.