Set against the backdrop of the New Orleans skyline, the Superdome stands as an imposing sight for
any who are traveling into the Big Easy via I-10. Opened for business in 1975, this building has seen
so much more than its fair share of memorable events. Besides being the home of the Saints, the
Superdome is also the annual host for the Sugar Bowl football game, has hosted three NCAA Final
Fours (Jordan's game winner, Webber's "timeout", Keith Smart's jumper), five Super Bowls (soon to be
six) and so much more!!

Outside the venue

When coming to the game, give yourself plenty of time as traffic on the I-10 can be vicious!! However
once you're on the local streets there is ample parking to be found whether it be the parking garages
and lots at the Dome or private lots within a couple of blocks walk. We did our normal walk through the
parking area in search of some good tailgating and to our shock found it to be nearly non-existent.
Hard to imagine a total lack of such a vital aspect of a football experience. Yet here at one of America's
biggest party cities?...nada...absolutely amazing!! There was however a huge pre-game party near the
Dome with live bands and way too many fans for us to make our way around in so at least there was
some sort of action to be seen around the stadium.

Another point of interest here is the New Orleans Arena, which shares the grounds with the
Superdome. This recently opened 18,000 seat facility was definitely built with the big leagues in mind
(Grizzlies??). However at this time the primary tenant is the ECHL New Orleans Brass. Keep up the
search for a major league tenant New Orleans, we need a good reason to come back!!!

Also to be noted in this time of impending conflict is the Vietnam Veterans statue in the plaza. Along
with a statue of soldier, there are plaques on the wall behind it offering a year by year timeline of the
Vietnam conflict from the time the North Vietnamese expelled the French in 1954 until the fall of Saigon
in 1975.

The concourses

Four major concourses here, for the plaza, club, suite, and terrace levels. There are views of the field
from many but not all points of the plaza concourse. Being an older facility, walkways were somewhat
constrictive and hard to maneuver in heavy traffic. Of note here is that some of the concession stands
are pushed back to facilitate the long lines that occur during breaks in the action and do assist in
alleviating congestion in the aisles. Here at the Superdome we were somewhat surprised to see
escalators and CARPETED ramps to transport fans to their section. Impressive to see this in an older
facility. However we could have done without the smoking areas at the top of each escalator...how
about that second hand smoke greeting you upon arrival at your assigned concourse!!!

Seating Area

Once you step inside the seating area, all it takes is one look up to the roof to get an idea of the size of
this enormous facility. This venue has no peer in America as to its size and it is this view that is its
most breathtaking. There is seating for roughly seventy thousand Saints fans and when they're  
motivated sound like about twice that many!! Interesting of note is the multicolored seat pattern as the
dome's seats are individually colored in red, purple and others we can't recall. It bears similarity to
Hamilton's Copps Coliseum save for the fact that here it is much more pleasing to the eye.

We also noticed the sideline seats on the plaza (field) level appear to be temporary in nature and can
be moved around for other events. In order to get from the plaza concourse to those seats one has to
walk across a catwalk that bridges the wide chasm between them. We were (and still are) somewhat
curious as to whether this venue was designed to host baseball as well.

Concessions
The usual items can be found here, but not without a huge dose of New Orleans and Cajun fare. Here
at the Superdome there are plenty of  stands throughout the concourses serving classic local food and
drink such as daiquiris, gumbo, jambalaya, cajun sausage, alligator sausage and so much more!! A
wonderful mix of  delicacies that accentuates the flair of this unique area of the country. Sorry, we
stayed away from the daiquiri stands as Peter already had enough of those and besides, the restroom
lines are hideous here!!

Retired Numbers and Banners

For the past thirty plus years, the "Aints" have been an annual exercise in futility and in most seasons
have lost much more often than they won. However this past season was one of the exceptions to that
rule as they surprised everyone by taking the NFC West crown and winning their first playoff game in
franchise history. This being the Saints home opener, we were able to witness the unveiling of the
banner commemorating this achievement as it now stands next to another banner celebrating their
1991 division title.

The Superdome also has five banners for those who have contributed mightily to the Saints and/or
sports in Louisiana. Representing the Saints are Rickey Jackson, Archie Manning and the late former
GM Jim Finks alongside college football's winningest coach Eddie Robinson, Dave Dixon, and some
Louisiana basketball icon who played for an NBA franchise in this city that has long since passed, the
late "Pistol" Pete Maravich.

Event presentation

As we visit the various venues, we often chuckle as to how the "homers" running the video board
replays use music clips and replays to incite the fans and grab that home edge. Well, nobody has
honed the talent like they do here in New Orleans. Every marginal call, or non-call, which seemed to go
against the Saints, was shown again and again on the replay boards, and of course the crowd was
going nuts. Home town fans always see what they want to see on a replay! Also, music was pumped
in on each big defensive stand, to the point where visiting Viking players were disconnecting sideline
speakers at field level. Operations staff on the field were reconnecting them just as quickly.

Also worth mentioning is the terrific pregame intros - the players come out of the tunnel to the foot
stomping, hand clapping beat of terrific blues music as well as a rendition of "When The Saints Come
Marching In". We joined in with the fans, and the entire atmosphere had a distinct New Orleans flavor!

Touchdowns, Extra Points, and Fumbles

Touchdown...Who dat say dey gonna beat them Saints! Not dem Vikings!! The USRT started a new
home team win streak with the Saints' dominating 28-15 win over the Vikes. Next up for us are the
Redskins at FedEx Field, they sure could use our
karma!!

Extra Point ...When it comes to noise making, it's hard to beat the decibel level of an indoor stadium.
The noise levels were for lack of a better term, thunderous. Minny QB Dante Culpepper was forced to
call a TO on at least one occasion thanks to the raucous New Orleans crowd.

Extra Point... One of the most unique individual rites of celebration can be found here at the
Superdome. After each Saints victory, longtime Saints owner Tom Benson usually can be seen
dancing around the sidelines with parasol in hand, unfortunately on this day...

Fumble...despite the victory, the parasol or the dance were nowhere to be seen!!! Quite a few fans
lingered in the stands and waited, along with us. Even longtime season ticket holders we spoke to
were surprised not to see this take place amidst the celebration.

Fumble....to a Skycap agent at the New Orleans Airport, we'll simply refer to him as "Cajun Man". He
asked us the obligatory security questions pertaining to our luggage, but his thick accent made him so
difficult to understand that there was a miscommunication between Cajun Man and Peter. We were
whisked away to the back room for brief questioning, and wound up having to have our luggage taken
care of by security supervisors.

Touchdown... we would be remiss not to mention the French Quarter in our profile. One of America's
great party zones and being here during a long holiday weekend made it that much better, special
thanks to those who assisted us with ideas for where to go and what to do while here. It was a great
time with a mixture of local folk, Viking Fan, and Gator Fan (down from watching Florida's annilihation
of LSU). Props go to Peter's parents who just happened to be in town while we were visiting New
Orleans.

ALSO - special thanks to unidentified GATOR FAN at Atlanta/Hartsfield Airport who chased us down
and returned our digital camera when Andrew had mistakenly left it behind.

Summary

WHO DAT!!! Quite simply the best indoor football facility outside of St. Louis. We were pleasantly
surprised to see that this facility more than holds its own amongst venues of its era and is somewhat
comparable with those that have gone up since then. But of course, there are cries for a new facility
with all the works and while the Superdome will be used for the short term future, you can bet on a new
home of the Saints being in place before the end of the decade. A nice facility in a great city, we came
very close to the four star ratin for the Superdome, yet without any real tailgating presence that is so
vital to any football venue we leave it as a three, and a high three at that.

SCORING:
Architecture: 8
Food and team store 8
Scoreboard and electronics 4
Ushers 5
Fan support 4
Location and neighborhood 7.5
Banners and history 7
In game entertainment 8
Concourses/fan comfort 6
Bonus: Tailgate scene 0, Tom Benson's parasol 1, The Big Easy 1, Jazz music bumps 1
Total 60.5
Mercedes Benz Superdome
#94  



Louisiana
Superdome      




New Orleans,
Louisiana




October 7,
2001    




Minnesota
Vikings
at
New Orleans
Saints



Return visit:
October 27,
2013


Buffalo Bills
at New
Orleans
Saints