CHAPTER 8


LOUISIANA SUPERDOME, 1975, LARGEST OF ALL ENCLOSED STADIUMS


Click on the image to activate video.
Image of Curtis with a link to Video clip from an interview with Curtis
Video clip from an interview with Curtis
by Peggy Scott Laborde, 1995.
Courtesy WYES TV.


EVERY GREAT HUMAN UNDERTAKING BEGINS WITH AN IDEA, A DREAM

Click on the image to enlarge.

Superdome.
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.

The Louisiana 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, and statesmen.

The various 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.

Superdome.
Construction sketch by Curtis, nd.

The notion 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.

The design 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.

 

Page 36