The Superdome: Super Once More
Five years after Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, the city and the Superdome are making a comeback
By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
1. The Saints and Their Superdome Home Five Years After Katrina
As it was five years ago, when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans, the Louisiana Superdome is at the center of that city's revitalization. And now its tenant, the New Orleans Saints, is the latest Super Bowl champion. As the Saints prepare to kick off their 2010 season, they're celebrating not only their remarkable win over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, but also the rebirth of their structural and spiritual home. ...
Forget the $185 million it cost to repair and refurbish the Superdome following Katrina. The Superdome is in the process of a $320 million renovation, which will make it one of the most modern sports facilities in the U.S. Among the planned upgrades are 16 new luxury suites (bringing the building's total to 153), 3,100 new sideline seats, two new field-level lounges, and a remodeled Saints' locker room.
Last year, the State of Louisiana and the Saints reached an agreement to extend the team's Superdome lease through 2025. What's more, according to the Saints and Superdome management contractor SMG, the Superdome upgrades will increase opportunities for more ancillary revenue for the franchise, thereby reducing Louisiana's obligations to the team under the old agreement. ...
Champions Square presented by Verizon (VZ) is the new special events space at the site of the former New Orleans Centre mall. The new fan entertainment area, Phase I of which opened to the public on Aug. 21, features a large music stage, street vendors, and food and merchandise kiosks, and it can accommodate more than 8,000 people. Visitors to Champions Square will be able to dine on food from an iconic group of restaurants that celebrate New Orleans's rich culinary heritage, including Acme Oyster House, Galatoire's, Drago's, and Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse.
"As New Orleans and the Louisiana Superdome host numerous national sporting events over the coming years, including the 2013 Super Bowl, this new infrastructure will accentuate the fan experience," says SMG Senior Vice-President Doug Thornton. "Champions Square also can be an economic engine outside of sports, serving as the site of corporate events, festivals, and concerts."
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