The Curtis and Davis-designed Superdome built by Blount International in Louisiana

Since I work in San Francisco now, I have recently blogged about some San Francisco landmarks:

Though I live in California now, I am originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. So for today, I decided I would blog about the Superdome. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, often referred to simply as the Superdome, is a domed sports and exhibition venue located in the Central Business District of New Orleans. As a high school student, I was one of 90,000 to attend the first concert held in the Superdome that featured Wet Willie, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Gregg Allman.

For this post, I turned to Wikipedia to gather some information. Here is the culled and rearranged result.


Superdome-design-make-use

Design

  • Sports visionary David Dixon (who decades later founded the United States Football League) conceived of the Superdome while attempting to convince the NFL to award a franchise to New Orleans.
  • After hosting several exhibition games at Tulane Stadium during typical New Orleans summer thunderstorms, Dixon was told by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle that the NFL would never expand into New Orleans without a domed stadium.
  • Dixon won the support of the governor of Louisiana, John McKeithen. When they toured the Astrodome in Houston, Texas in 1966, McKeithen was quoted as saying, "I want one of these, only bigger.", in reference to the Astrodome itself.
  • Bonds were passed for construction of the Superdome on November 8, 1966, seven days after commissioner Pete Rozelle awarded New Orleans the 25th professional football franchise.
  • The stadium was conceptualized to be a multi-functional stadium for football, baseball, and basketball with movable field level stands that could be arranged specifically for each sport and areas with dirt (for the bases and pitcher's mound) covered with metal plates on the stadium floor (they were covered by the artificial turf during football games).
  • Plans were drawn up in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis.
  • The dome has an interior space of 125,000,000 cubic feet, a height of 253 feet, a dome diameter of 680 feet, and a total floor area of 269,000 square feet.
  • Its steel frame covers a 13-acre expanse and the 273-foot dome is made of a lamellar multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of 680 feet, making it the largest fixed domed structure in the world. The Astrodome would fit inside the Superdome.

Make

  • Blount International (now a maker of chainsaws) of Montgomery, Alabama was chosen to build the stadium.
  • The Superdome is located on 70 acres of land, including the former Girod Street Cemetery.
  • As the dome was being constructed, various individuals developed eccentric models of the structure: one was of sugar, another consisted of pennies. The so-called "penny model" traveled to the Philadelphia Bicentennial '76 exhibition. New Orleanian Norman J. Kleintz built the model with 2,697 pennies and donated it to the Superdome Board of Commissioners in April, 1974.
  • It was hoped the stadium would be ready in time for the 1972 NFL season, and the final cost of the facility would come in at $46 million. Instead, due to political delays, construction did not start until August 11, 1971 and was not finished until August 1975. Factoring in inflation, construction delays, and the increase in transportation costs caused by the 1973 oil crisis, the final price tag of the stadium skyrocketed to $165 million.
  • The original artificial turf playing surface in the Superdome was produced by Monsanto specifically for the Superdome and was named "Mardi Grass" in reference to Mardi Gras that is celebrated in New Orleans annually.

Use

  • The Superdome held its official dedication ceremonies on August 3, 1975. Jazz musicians Al Hirt and Pete Fountain played for the event.
  • German automaker Mercedes-Benz purchased naming rights to the stadium, and the new name took effect on October 23, 2011.
  • The Superdome primarily serves as the home venue for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL), and is also the home stadium for the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Bowl in college football.
  • The Superdome has a listed football seating capacity of 76,468 (expanded) or 73,208 (not expanded) and a maximum basketball seating capacity of 73,432.
  • The NFL has hosted seven Super Bowls at the Superdome, most recently Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football BCS National Championship Game has been played at the Superdome four times.
  • The NCAA has hosted the Men's Final Four basketball championship at the Superdome five times.
  • The Superdome hosted the September 15, 1978 fight where Muhammad Ali won the world Heavyweight title for the third time by beating Leon Spinks in front of a crowd of 65,000. It was Ali's last professional win.
  • Leonard–Durán II, also known as the "No Más" fight, took place on November 25, 1980 at the Superdome.
  • The Republican National Convention was held at the Superdome in 1988, nominating then-Vice President George H. W. Bush for President and U.S. Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana as Vice President.
  • The Superdome gained international attention of a different type in 2005 when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina.

It's great that I am in San Francisco now, but I will never forget my New Orleans roots.

A dome is alive in the lab.