Friday, October 23, 2015

New Orleans, Louisiana: Superdome

The first time I saw the Superdome was in 1977. We arrived on Sunday night by car, and my fellow college students and I had to see it first in New Orleans. We got off the on-ramp in the dark, and suddenly it was in front of us: immense.

Fast forward almost 40 years, and it still fits that description. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, as it is now called, has become a complex of past, present and future sports history. Several Super Bowls have held there, along with NCAA basketball finals, college football championships, bowl games, etc.

Yet it always will be associated somewhat with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When some residents couldn't leave the city for one reason or another, they were shipped to the Superdome to ride out the storm. Even this amazing structure couldn't take the pounding from the storm. Almost 20,000 people tried to ride out the storm in the Superdome, but the idea didn't work. There were too many people and not enough supplies, and the roof developed leaks that let water spill in. Eventually, the building was evacuated, and many of the refugees (if that's the right word) went to Houston.

There was talk of closing up the facility. Instead, a massive repair effort took place and the Superdome was open for business in 2006.

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1 comment:

  1. I remember driving by when it was first being built in 1974. It absolutely dwarfed the rest of the downtown area. A bunch of friends drove from Biloxi to see a pre-season game (Steelers/Saints) at Tulane Stadium. It was the year of the first football strike and you really needed a program to tell the players - but there were a few notable names who went onto the Hall of Fame: Swann, Stallworth, Lambert and Webster.