The Superdome
1:31 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

The Superdome Through the Years

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.

We've collected a slideshow of images of the Superdome from its earliest days, thanks to Tulane University's Louisiana Research Collection and their Southeastern Architectural Archive. For more information, check out their new exhibit: The Dome. The exhibit is in Jones Hall on the Tulane Campus (6801 Freret), and is free and open to the public.

A little Superdome lagniappe:

Governor John McKeithen proclaimed the Superdome the best thing to happen to the state since the Louisiana Purchase.

Nathaniel C. Curtis, Jr. was the lead designer on the Dome project. He stressed the building's legacy as "a classical amphitheater envisioned in modern terms," designing the arena around the needs of spectators first, then figuring out what the structural system should be.

The building was designed to sit above the city's high water table, and to withstand hurricane-force winds.

Helicopters delivered final building materials to the Dome when cranes could no longer reach.

The Superdome sits on a platform 25 feet above grade, and features a 5000-ton dome, supported by twenty four prefabricated sections that make up a tension ring.

The dome took eight years to build, employed over 1000 people and cost over $163 million.