Home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has been the site of many Sugar Bowls, several NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments, the BCS championship game, a record seven Super Bowls (including 2013), and the 1998 Republican National Convention.
The Superdome was badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina and in its aftermath, when it served as a shelter of last resort for evacuees. The stadium underwent extensive renovations in the years that
followed and reopened for football in September 2006, when the Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons, at the time setting a record for the largest TV audience in ESPN history.
Built in 1975, the Superdome seats approximately 71,000 people, has a 166,000-square-foot main arena and a roof that covers almost 10 acres at a height of 27 stories. Since the Saints' Super Bowl victory in 2010, the Superdome has been covered in gold-hued anodized aluminum siding and given a brand-new outdoor festival space appropriately named Champions Square. Exterior LED lighting added in 2011 gives the stadium an eye-catching, ever-changing facade.
The bronze statue on the Poydras Street side of the Superdome is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Across from it is a large abstract sculpture called the Krewe of Poydras. The sculptor, Ida Kohlmeyer, meant to evoke the frivolity and zany spirit of Mardi Gras. A couple of blocks down Poydras Street from the Superdome is the Bloch Cancer Survivors Monument, a block-long walkway of whimsical columns, figures, and a triumphal arch in the median of Loyola Avenue. The Smoothie King Center (formerly called the New Orleans Arena) behind the Superdome is home to the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans. The streets around the Superdome and arena are usually busy during business hours, but at night and on weekends, except during a game, the area should not be explored alone.
The Superdome does not offer public tours, but visitors can walk along the exterior Plaza and Champions Square to get a better view. The Plaza by Champions Square offers the best photo opportunity.