Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Orleans "Sports Plant" 1968

In the spring of 1968, Maurice E. "Moon" Landrieu (top image above) was advocating a new stadium for metropolitan New Orleans, quoting then Governor John J. McKeithen's assertion that "the stadium is the greatest thing that's happened to the state since the Louisiana Purchase." Landrieu outlined the project's merits in an article for The New Orleans Realtor:

"A city and state, like any other big business, must continually invest in the future. New Orleans is deeply committed to tourism and recreation, and we are in active competition with other cities for new industries.
Construction of a multi-purpose domed stadium may be bold but not unrealistic. Such a facility is an investment that will mean additional income for everyone in the city and state, and new tax dollars will flow into state government coffers for the benefit of all. Economically, the impact of a huge sports plant such as the domed stadium--with its projected attendance of three to four million people a year--will be one of several new industries locating in Louisiana. After a careful and thorough study of existing facilities, the Gulf South Research Institute estimates that the total amount of benefit to the state will be in excess of $150 million in the first year."

After considering twenty-one sites across Orleans and Jefferson Parish, members of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District Commission selected a fifty-five acre site bordered by the Pontchartrain Expressway, Poydras Street, and Claiborne & Loyola Avenues. New Orleans architect Nathaniel C. Curtis, Jr. was named project director over a team of architects and engineers that included his firm, Curtis and Davis, as well as Sverdrup and Parcel; Nolan, Norman and Nolan; and Edward B. Silverstein and Associates.

An early design -- shown in the reproduction above -- was configured with a football-shaped massing meant to accommodate more sideline seats than in the Houston Astrodome.

To read more, see:  Maurice E. Landrieu. "The Domed Stadium--Its Impact On New Orleans." The New Orleans Realtor (March 1968): pp. 5-7. Images above from the article, available in the Southeastern Architectural Archive.

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