Associated Files
Title
The Forum, boarded up after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings
Next
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Chris Loper
Contributor
Loper, Chris (Interviewee)
O'Brien, Joanna Shea (Interviewer)
Girdharry, Kristi (Recordist)
McDonough, Ryan (Contributor)
Language
English
Date created
March 18, 2014
Type of resource
Sound recording
Genre
Interviews
Oral histories (document genres)
Format
Sound Recording
Digital origin
born digital
Abstract/Description
Countless lives were affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath. The WBUR Oral History Project collects stories from individuals whose lives were immediately and irrevocably changed by these events. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of WBUR, our team of oral historians, and the participation of these interview subjects, Our Marathon has tried to ensure that these stories are not forgotten. We believe that these stories matter, and that they demonstrate the ways historical events transform the lives of the people who lived through them. Oral historians Jayne K. Guberman, Ph.D., and Joanna Shea O'Brien conducted the interviews for this project. Oral History Project Manager Kristi Girdharry, Our Marathon Project Co-Director Jim McGrath, and Community Outreach Lead Joanne DeCaro recorded the interviews and provided research assistance and post-interview processing. McGrath and Our Marathon Audio Technician Ryan McDonough provided sound editing and processing for all of the interviews and clips. The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project. Chris Loper is the general manager of Forum restaurant on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Because of Forumʼs close proximity to the marathon finish line, the restaurant is a central location for spectators each year on marathon day. In 2013, Joe Andruzzi, former New England Patriots offensive lineman and founder of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, hosted a party for his charityʼs marathon team at Forum. Chris was working the day of the event, managing guests, the Andruzzi Foundation party as well as the marathon crowds. When the bomb detonated directly in front of the restaurant patio, the managers, wait staff, hostesses, food runners, busboys and bartenders all worked together to help guests evacuate through the back entrance and act as first responders to help the severely wounded in the front of the restaurant and by the patio. They brought cloths and towels for tourniquets, ice for injuries, and stayed on the scene to help keep the victims calm while EMS and ambulances arrived. Because of their proximity to the bomb, Chris remained at the restaurant that afternoon and helped investigators review footage from the security cameras. He was also interviewed at his home by FBI agents the next day. Chris details the days after the marathon, what it was like to finally go back to the restaurant over a week later, with flooring removed, boarded up windows and hamburgers still on the grill. He talks about how he, the owners and staff coped during that tense week. On August 15, 2013, after major renovations, Forum reopened its doors and has since become a place for survivors, spectators and those affected by the bombing to stay connected. Chris shares some of the happy highlights of its reopening, including his favorite New Orleans jazz band called Rebirth Brass Band being flown up by Comcast to perform a traditional New Orleans second line down the sidewalk from the finish line to the restaurant. He also shares the story of Forum staff celebrating with the Red Sox during the 2013 World Championship parade down Boylston Street. Chris reflects on the increased attention from the media, and how he helped navigate the media attention for the restaurant and staff, as well as the challenges for him and some staff in the longer term healing. He details an incident in which one waitress prepared to go back to work after the reopening, but when she put on her work shoes, there was still glass shards in one shoe, remnants from the bombing. She decided to postpone returning to work for several days. Chris talks about similar challenges with loud sounds like ambulances, and how itʼs also been challenging in different ways for the staff working on marathon day. Chris describes 2013 as an intense year in which he became very close to his staff who went through these experiences with him, and how the support and thanks that they have received from survivors, the City of Boston, Boston sports teams and the general public created a strong bond that deeply affected him.
Notes
The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project.
Source note
The WBUR Oral History Project. Chris Loper (Oral History), Joanna Shea O'Brien (Oral Historian), Kristi Girdharry (Recorder), Ryan McDonough (Sound Editing and Processing)
Related item
Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive
Subjects and keywords
Boston Marathon Bombing, Boston, Mass., 2013
Permanent URL
Use and reproduction
Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Requests for permission to publish quotations should be addressed to Our Marathon (marathon@neu.edu) and should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. Commercial use of content is prohibited. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

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