Architectural Marvel – Largest Domed Structure in the World
August 9, 1975: First NFL Game in Superdome
Louisiana Superdome is dedicated Aug. 9 – The 1st football game is played in the Louisiana Superdome as the Houston Oilers beat the Saints, 13-7, in a preseason contest before 72,434
Plans were drawn up in 1967, by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis. Its steel frame covers a 13-acre (5.3 ha) expanse. Its 273-foot (83 m) dome is made of a Lamella multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of 680 feet (210 m), making it the largest fixed domed structure in the world.
In 2005, the Superdome gained international attention of a different type when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina. The building suffered extensive damage as a result of the storm, and was closed for many months afterward.
On October 3, 2011, it was announced that German automaker Mercedes-Benz purchased naming rights to the stadium. The new name took effect on October 23, 2011.
The Superdome’s primary tenant is the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. The team regularly draws capacity crowds. The NFL has hosted seven Super Bowls at the Superdome, most recently Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
20th Century Special Events
The Superdome held its official dedication ceremonies on August 3, 1975. Jazz musicians Al Hirt and Pete Fountain played for the event.
Between August 28 and September 14, 1975, the Superdome continued to celebrate its grand opening, with appearances by Bob Hope, Telly Savalas, Dorothy Lamour, Karen Valentine, and Raquel Welch.
The Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker band, Wet Willie, the Charlie Daniels band, the O’Jays, the Isley Brothers, the Temptations, Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds, and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus also performed.
On October 3, 1975, June Carter, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter performed in the Dome. Fans included then Governor Edwin Edwards.
The Superdome’s 1977 New Year’s Eve celebration opened with the Emotions and Deniece Williams, followed by Earth, Wind and Fire.
On May 29, 1977, the First Annual Superdome KOOL Jazz Spectacular featured Aretha Franklin, Al Green, The Spinners, and The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Jimmie “J.J.” Walker from the TV series “Good Times” was the guest M.C.
In boxing, Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks, in Ali’s last professional win, in front of a crowd of 65,000 in 1978.
On December 5, 1981, a concert by The Rolling Stones attracted more than 87,500 spectators, with attendees filling in the floor area, as well as the regular seating sections.
Pope John Paul II addressed 80,000 children at the stadium in 1987.
The Republican National Convention was held there in 1988.
In June 1996, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Disney’s 34th animated feature, had a gala world premiere at this stadium, with over 65,000 people attending the event.
Britney Spears performed at the dome on September 20, 2000 during her Oops!… I Did It Again Tour.
‘N Sync performed here during their 2001 PopOdyssey Tour. The August 22nd show was filmed and released on VHS and DVD.
Beyonce performed at the dome on July 7, 2013 during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. The concert was a part of the Essence Music Festival and broke the attendance record of the annual festival.
The Superdome was used as a “shelter of last resort” for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina when it struck in late August 2005. During the storm, a large section of the outer covering was peeled off by high winds. A few days later the dome was closed until September 25, 2006.
Reopening after Katrina
The reopening of the dome was celebrated with festivities including a free outdoor concert by the Goo Goo Dolls before fans were allowed in, a pre-game performance by the rock bands U2 and Green Day performing a cover of The Skids’ “The Saints Are Coming”, and a coin toss conducted by former President George H. W. Bush.
In front of ESPN’s largest-ever audience at that time, the Saints won the game 23–3 with 70,003 in attendance and went on to a successful season reaching their first ever NFC Championship Game.