clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Looking Back on the History of New Orleans Football Stadiums

Maybe our Saints didn't make it all the way this year, but we're all thinking about football right now as Super Bowl 50 approaches—and, because this is Curbed, we're thinking about the places football is played in New Orleans. While the Superdome might be the city's most recognizable football venue, New Orleans has a storied stadium past—from the many iterations of Tulane's stadium to decades of high school games at Tad Gormley.

The Superdome
The beloved spaceship of the New Orleans skyline turned 40 last year, and in its time has hosted seven Super Bowls (most notably Blackout/Beyonce Bowl, aka Super Bowl XLVII).

New Orleans architect duo Curtis and Davis, responsible for many midcentury modern homes around the city, designed the dome. When the dome — dubbed "the superdome" by onlookers even before construction began — opened in 1975, message boards flashed to guests "Welcome to the Future".

In developing conceptual models for the structure, Nathaniel Curtis "stressed the building's legacy as a classical amphitheater envisioned in modern terms, a challenge to both the past and the future." With a diameter of 680 feet, it's the largest fixed domed structure in the world.

Over the years, the Dome has been home to both New Orleans' tragedies and celebrations—from the dark days of Katrina, when thousands sought refuge there, to the triumphant first Saints game after the storm that opened with Green Day and U2.

Tulane Stadium
Before the Dome, Tulane Stadium was the home of the Saints and the spot for big bowl games. It hosted the Super Bowl in 1970, 1972, and 1975. The third stadium for the Uptown university, Tulane Stadium hosted the very first Sugar Bowl—and hence the stadium itself was informally known as the "Sugar Bowl" (it was also called "The Queen of Southern Stadiums").

When the Superdome was built in 1975, Tulane Stadium was condemned and only hosted practices, high school games and other small events for the next few years. It was demolished in 1979. Many neglected objects were rediscovered during the demolition, including a couple of Egyptian mummies.

In 2014, Tulane finally got an on-campus stadium again when the $73 million Yulman Stadium opened.

Tad Gormley Stadium
For high school football games, Tad Gormley in City Park is the place to be on Friday nights. Built by the Works Progress Administration in 1937, the stadium—originally City Park Stadium—has hosted many important non-football events, including the 1992 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and concerts by bands like The Beatles.

The stadium flooded after Hurricane Katrina, and Reggie Bush—running back for the Saints at the time—donated $80,000 to repair the playing field. The field is now called Reggie Bush Field.

· All Superdome coverage [Curbed NOLA]