Officially, the New Orleans Superdome was renamed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2011. You will not hear that term from many locals though. In neighborhood circles, it is still referred to as simply, The Superdome. Thanks to the strong structural support of the Superdome, many victims of Hurricane Katrina were able to take shelter in the huge arena, seeking shelter from the storm. Since that catastrophic event, the arena has been remodeled and reopened during a spectacular televised Monday Night Football reopening on September 25, 2006.
New Orleans Saints
The Superdome hosted six of football’s famed Super Bowl games with the seventh (Super Bowl XLVII) being held there in February of 2013. This is more than any other venue. Thanks to the visionary New Orleans businessman Dave Dixon (June 4, 1923-August 8, 2010), the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was built, after much discussion and planning. It was designed in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis, who also designed the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. In Mr. Dixon’s honor, a portion of Girod Street has been renamed in his honor. New Orleans will be forever grateful to this pioneer who had the vision of bringing pro football to the city in the late 50’s. The New Orleans weather, with rainy summers and high humidity, made a good argument for a permanently domed, air-conditioned stadium. The New Orleans Saints played their first game at the Superdome on September 28, 1975. Whether you are a huge sports fan or not, the Louisiana Superdome is a sight to see. Now decorated in beautiful lights at night, coordinating with the season, it is a must stop on your trip to The Big Easy.
Bourbon Street New Orleans
If you are traveling to New Orleans for an event at the New Orleans Superdome, there are many hotels and motels nearby that are convenient to the arena. Its proximity to the French Quarter, the Central Business District and the Lower Garden District make the surrounding area an appealing location for tourists to stay. There is the Holiday Inn Downtown, which is the closest to the Superdome, at less than half a mile away. Also downtown are the Quality Inn and Suites which is within walking distance of the Superdome at just a few blocks from the French Quarter’s Bourbon Street. The newly renovated Hyatt Regency on Loyola Avenue has 1,193 guest rooms and 95 suites for its visitors. Keeping up with the trends, each room is outfitted with an iPod docking station and stone baths. This beautiful, spacious hotel is also home to Borgne, a John Besh restaurant, one of the city’s great chefs. Besides being the author of various cookbooks and owner of several other restaurants around the city, Besh was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award which is given to those that are labeled as the best and brightest in the food and beverage industry. Also located in the Hyatt is a convenient 24-hour fresh market and a 2,000 square-foot Starbucks
If a chain hotel is not your cup of tea, there are numerous boutique hotels within walking distance also. Take the Loft523 hotel: here you will have spacious loft rooms with the luxury only a boutique hotel can accommodate. If you truly want a luxurious experience while in town, check out a luxury hotel such as the Ritz-Carlton on Canal St. Indulge in the marble bathrooms and the thirsty terry cloth robes there after taking in the sights of exciting New Orleans.
Don’t forget to check out what’s going on in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. You are sure to find a concert or sporting event there while you are visiting the city.
As the Who Dat’ Nation, basked in the warm glow winning against the Dallas Cowboys, and watching the first signs of a running attack coupled with running back Mark Ingram having his best game as a Saint, we may start to look at the heart of this schedule. On Sunday, the Saints beat the San Francisco 49ers by the score of 23-20, and many in Who Dat Nation know the score was not really indicative of the game (special thanks again to the defense); we now enter into the “Meat and Potatoes of the schedule. It actually began with the Dallas victory and its’ only just begun. The Saints travel to Atlanta for a short week with a matchup against the hated division rival Atlanta Falcons, and while the Falcons have a terrible 2-8 record, nothing would make their season than to beat the Saints. As the saying goes “misery loves company”. This could be a game in which it would allow the surging Carolina Panthers to game significant ground against the Saints in the division. Earlier, most experts thought New Orleans would have this division wrapped by this time, but the Panthers apparently have other thoughts. The Saints have upcoming Atlanta (2-8), Seattle (10-1), St. Louis (4-6), back to Carolina, and close with Tampa.
On the surface, you would say well just beat Seattle, and everything will be ok, but look closer and St. Louis has a decent defense and remember the shock we all took in 2011 when the Rams totally demolished the Saints under then Coach Steve Spagnulo. Steven Jackson (now with Atlanta), ran for 151 yards on 31 carriers in that game and while their starting QB Sam Bradford is out for the season, their defense has been leading the way for them, and keeping games close. The same can be said for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, good defense in spite of a rookie QB. The schedule makers didn’t do them any favors either with most of these last games on the road. The team we saw against Dallas was a complete New Orleans Saints team, and while we all know that different games call for different strategy, we once again abandoned the run game against the 49ers. Statically the run game looked adequate, but more touches by Ingram, Thomas and Sproles, maybe would have put this game completely out of reach early and just may have avoided Brees the lone interception he recorded.
Many questions will be answered as we enter into these games, and the wrong answers to these questions could spell disaster. The one concern I believe most fans have is Payton’s’ insistence to abandon the run game, and yet we still believe him when he says “we have to run the ball” or “we will run the ball more”. Was the Dallas game our one fill of the run game for the season? That remains to be seen, and I believe we will see more of it this week against Atlanta. Defensively, this team has been solid. They are ranked #4 overall in the NFL, a far cry the “worst defense in NFL history”, and the Steve Spagnulo’s passive defense of last season. This season, this defense has carried this team until the offense finally decided to show up and that’s’ been several games this season. Defensive Coordinator Roy Ryan has bought a swagger back to this defense and an aggressiveness that seems favorable to the personnel he has. This defense will play an integral part in the upcoming success of this ball club, and judging from its play thus far, I see no reason for them to let up and keep the Saints in games and at the table for the “Meat and Potatoes” part of the season.