on the image to activate video.
clip from an interview with Curtis
by Peggy Scott Laborde, 1995.
Courtesy WYES TV.
GREAT HUMAN UNDERTAKING BEGINS WITH AN IDEA, A DREAM
|Click on the image to enlarge.
Conceptual sketch by Curtis, nd.
In the case
of the Louisiana Superdome, men dared to imagine a versatile structure
of unprecedented size which would be capable of adapting to the
diverse and constantly evolving social needs of a large contemporary
community. The realization of that idea required eight years of
intense effort supported by the confidence of the people of New
Orleans and Louisiana. The result is heroic and classic in its awesome
scale and emotional impact.
Superdome sought to do for New Orleans what the great amphitheaters
and stadia of antiquity did for their communities. The amphitheaters
of ancient Greece were more than public sports centers. Olympic
competitions were supplemented with drama and poetry contests, music
festivals, and oratorical exploits of immortal figures, generals,
social and cultural events staged in those huge multipurpose arenas
constitute a considerable part of the legacy of "the glory
that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome." Consciously,
and to some extent unconsciously, the designers of the Superdome
worked in the light of that rich past. Like its ancient ancestors,
the Superdome is designed to house the sports and cultural activities
of a city and its people.
DAVE DIXON, ORIGINATOR OF THE IDEA OF A SUPERDOME
Dave Dixon, John McKeithen, and Moon Landrieu deserve most of the
credit for the Louisiana Superdome becoming a reality in New Orleans.
They not only participated in the promotion of the project but were
also actively involved in the necessary legislation, site selection
and purchase, financing, architect selection, planning, and construction.
|Click on the image to enlarge.
Construction sketch by Curtis, nd.
of building an enclosed stadium in New Orleans, later known as the
Louisiana Superdome, originated with Dave Dixon, a New Orleans businessman,
promoter, and sports enthusiast. Dixon had already brought professional
football to the City in the form of exhibition games staged at Tulane
University Sugar Bowl Stadium. He was instrumental in obtaining
the National Football League franchise that brought in the New Orleans
Saints. Dixon not only conceived of the Superdome but also led the
promotion of it. The passage of legislation and all the steps leading
to the formation of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District
and its board comprised of prominent political and business leaders
were a result of Dixon's efforts. His most significant accomplishment
was securing the support and enthusiastic backing of then-Governor
John McKeithen. Moon Landrieu was first Councilman-at-Large, then
Mayor during the planning and building of the stadium. He gave the
entire effort the added impetus it needed.
team for the project has disbanded except for Veronica Ohlmeyer
and me. Earl Stahl has a key position in a large A/E firm in Dallas.
Bob Drew, Horace Hayden, Caplinger, and Timpa are in business for
themselves. Jack McCausland, Julius Smith, Cronin, and Marty Steiger
have died. Ital Veron and Tom Sutter have retired. Sutter still
cries when he describes his emotions as the Superdome roof structure
was jacked down onto the tension ring. Before the crown block was
covered up, he and I painted our names on it, giving future archaeologists
something to ponder.