Louisiana Superdome

sights / Sporting venues

Lonely Planet review

Hovering like a giant, bronze-tinted hubcap amid the CBD skyscrapers and the elevated I-10 freeway, the Superdome is one of New Orleans’ most easily recognized structures. The immense indoor stadium, with its sophisticated climate-control system, has hosted six Super Bowls, presidential conventions, the Rolling Stones (largest indoor concert in history) and Pope John Paul II. On New Year’s Day the college-football Sugar Bowl is played here, and in fall this is the home turf of the New Orleans Saints. All of this excitement occurs in a structure built on top of an ancient burial ground, which some say is the source of the Saints seemingly cursed 40-year history. The Superdome gained notoriety in 2005 when it was designated a ‘refuge of last resort’ during Hurricane Katrina. Some 20,000 to 30,000 people huddled under the dome as Katrina’s winds blew off part of the roof. Power went out and food and water supplies were quickly depleted as people lived in squalor and waited nearly a week for buses to carry them out of the flooded city. Initial unconfirmed reports of rape, riot and murder within the Dome have been debunked. In all, six people died inside the Superdome (one apparent suicide, one overdose and the rest from natural causes, mainly elderly or infirm who suffered from pre-existing conditions), plus several more in the immediate vicinity.