The Louisiana Superdome, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, is home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints. As the largest fixed dome structure in the world, the Superdome has been host to countless events since it opened its doors in 1975. In addition to the Saints, the Superdome is home to a number of Tulane University sports teams, known as the Tulane Green Wave.
Some of the stadium's most memorable events include countless Super Bowl games, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, the Essence Music Festival, a mass held by Pope John Paul II, a number of legendary professional boxing matches, and countless concerts with artists such as the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, the Goo Goo Dolls, and U2.
Ground was broken on the Superdome in 1971, after the Louisiana congress passed legislation allowing for a new domed sports complex in 1966. In 1975, the stadium's inaugural game was played between the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. The Superdome cost $163 million to build. The Stadium is operated by SMG, and was designed by architect Nathaniel Curtis of Curtis & Davis. The contractor was Huber, Hunt & Nichols.
The Superdome has a capacity of 72,968 for football, but due to its size, is often used for other events. Basketball games are provided with a capacity of 55,675, while baseball games offer space for 63,525. At one point, the stadium held 87,500 for a Rolling Stones concert in the `80s.
Found in the Central Business District of New Orleans, the Superdome is an impressive structure. From the center of the ceiling to the center of the floor, the Superdome is 273 feet tall. The surface area of the stadium is 269,000 square feet, while the total interior space is 125 million cubic feet.
The Superdome offers patrons access to 88 restrooms and 132 luxury box suites, along with a number of on-site ATMs. A limited number of wheelchairs are available for free rental at the venue, and there are ten elevators to make moving through the Superdome easier. The field itself is composed of FieldTurf, which was initially installed in 2003, but had to be replaced after the events of Hurricane Katrina. Four scoreboards (8' x 60') and two DiamondVision Panels (28'7'' x 36'3'') hang within the venue, adding a nice touch to special events. On-site parking is readily available for fans, with four parking garages with space for around 5,000 vehicles. Two surface lots are also located adjacent to the structure.
In 2005, the Superdome served as a refuge from those seeking to escape the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Roughly 30,000 people sought shelter there after the incident. Since then, the stadium has undergone extensive repairs and renovations, totaling $193 million and closing it down from 2005 to 2006.
Currently, the Superdome is set for a number of renovations to help modernize the venue. Costing roughly $320 million, the improvements range from windows being added to allow more light to enter the stadium, to a complete refurnishing of the club suites. Along with this, patrons will now be able to use credit cards at concession stands, something sure to be a very welcome improvement.