The Return of the Superdome
December 1, 2006
The Louisiana Superdome is recognized worldwide. It would be very hard to imagine New Orleans without the Superdome defining its skyline. But that almost became a reality after Hurricane Katrina caused what was believed to be irreparable damage. Thankfully, through brilliant insight of some amazing architects and the hard work of talented contractors, a complete renovation took place – under budget – in less than a year.
Since opening day in August of 1975, the Superdome has been the site for many record-breaking events. The structure itself is the world’s largest steel constructed room unobstructed by post. There have been more Super Bowls hosted here than in any other arena. In 1981 87,500 screaming fans packed the Dome to see the Rolling Stones perform, setting the record for the attendance record for an indoor concert. More than 80,000 school children filled the Super Dome in 1987 to hear an address by Pope John Paul II. These are some of the most spectacular events any stadium could boast. It would have been quite hard to imagine New Orleans without our beloved icon.
In 1997, when I first started cleaning carpet in the New Orleans metro area, one of my first major business goals was to clean inside the Superdome. I gained access into the dome on several occasions but never had any luck in locating anyone in charge of maintenance, although I did “happen in” once when the artificial turf was being cleaned. Some time later I was informed that all cleaning was done in house and outside contractors were rarely, if ever, utilized. Needless to say, this did little to extinguish my desire to eventually clean inside the Dome.
Flash forward to July 2006. I received a call from a contractor who owns several apartment communities we have maintained. He informed me that they were replacing the seats in the club level of the Superdome and needed to clean the concrete before installing the new seats. One hour later, my well-contained enthusiasm and I were at the Superdome, roll-a-tape in hand, ready to scope the job.
Soon after cleaning the club level we were asked to return to clean the third- and fourth-level suites (also concrete) prior to carpet installation. Then, with about a week until opening day, my original goal was finally realized. After having cleaned about 100,000 square feet of concrete, we returned to the Superdome to clean the recently installed and recently soiled carpet. We cleaned the visitor and officials’ locker rooms, as well as the Saints owner Tom Benson’s party room.
Although I never would have imagined such a terrible disaster possible for the remarkable region of Louisiana I call home, I am very proud my incredible staff and I were able to do our part in putting it back together. You can’t imagine our excitement on that first Monday night home game when we were shown cleaning the Superdome on the ESPN pre-game show. That was every bit as sweet for us as our beloved Saints’ triumphant return to beat Atlanta in our homecoming game.