The Superdome began as a public referendum in 1966, and shines today as New Orleans gets ready to celebrate Super Bowl XLVII.
Built atop the bulldozed Back o' Town neighborhood, the Superdome is the site of ecstasy and tragedy, of countless celebrations and memories, historical agonies and post-K clichés. The Dome is a temple to our Saints and our city, and — love it or hate it — you can't ignore it.
The Superdome in New Orleans has hosted heavyweight fights, papal visits, and — after this weekend — seven Super Bowls, an NFL record. But no event looms larger in the dome's history than Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that turned the stadium into a teeming shelter of last resort.
During the storm, reporters spared no hyperbole when describing scenes of human suffering. The Superdome, in particular, was described as a "hellhole" and "apocalyptic," and it was sort of true.
Traffic restrictions around parts of downtown, enacted this past weekend as part of the run-up to this year's Super Bowl, will be suspended during Hornets games to allow access, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome announced today on Twitter.
Lane and exit closures have already begun to snarl traffic throughout the CBD, according to numerous reports this morning, the first full work day for many since the restrictions began.
The State Bond Commission has approved a $400 million restructuring of a troubled bond deal that helped rebuild and upgrade the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.
The Times-Picayunereports that it includes paying off the $238 million in bonds the state bought in 2008 to get the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District out of debt, and fees to resolve litigation with Merrill Lynch.
Rene Lopez and Devin Burrell blast dirt off the polyurethane coating the iconic white roof of the Superdome in New Orleans. The job will cost about $130,000 and take roughly a month, partly because the roofers must move slowly. "You have to constantly be aware of where you're at," says project manager Tom Keller. "If something stupid happens, it's not going to end up pretty."
Credit Keith O'Brien for NPR
Keller helped rebuild the damaged roof of the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. "It's not just a roof," he says. "This is the Superdome. It's probably the most infamous roof, and now famous roof, in the whole world."
Credit David J. Phillip / AP
The Louisiana Superdome plays an iconic role in the skyline--and heart--of New Orleans.
Credit Keith O'Brien for NPR
As the roofers get to the top, they literally straddle the void, swinging their bodies from the ladder to the roof over a small but frightening gap.
Most people have their route to work memorized; they can do it with their eyes closed. Heading into the office is some combination of elevators — stairs if you're more ambitious — and hallways. Easy.
Tom Keller's route is a bit more complicated.
"Step here, and there's a bad railing right here with a step," Keller cautions, threading his way up along a series of dimly lit, narrow catwalks suspended above the football field inside the New Orleans Superdome.
The stadium is home to the New Orleans Saints and will host this year's Super Bowl.
The nearly 10-acre roof of the Superdome in New Orleans became a symbol of Hurricane Katrina's destruction in 2005, but the new, improved roof survived Hurricane Isaac just fine.
Superdome manager Doug Thornton said Friday that Isaac did cause some damage to the dome, including some sheet metal damage to exhaust vents. His early estimate of repair costs is $75,000 to $100,000 — a far cry from the $157 million in storm damage repairs covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Katrina.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Jindal administration has gotten permission to redirect federal hurricane recovery money from housing aid programs to Superdome upgrades. Federal approval was discussed Thursday in the Senate Finance Committee.