When Alabama defeated Penn State in 1975 in the Superdome, the game launched a new era for the Sugar Bowl, one that has tracked through more than three decades of legendary games, coaches and athletes, and one that projects well into the foreseeable future.
In October, the Superdome wrapped up the most recent round of renovations since Hurricane Katrina - an $85 million effort capped by the unveiling of the eye-catching lighting capabilities which make the building an even more vivid highlight of the Big Easy skyline. This brings the total amount spent on renovations to $336 million since 2006.
The Superdome stands as one of America's architectural marvels and has now emerged as Louisiana's most recognizable landmark. In August, 2005, the whole world saw what happened here when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. The image of the Superdome with its torn roof, surrounded by flood waters, was a lasting one.
Now that image has transcended into a symbol of the recovery of the city-the rebuilt Superdome with its gleaming white roof and its fabulous night-time glow poised on the threshold of downtown. Those who doubted that it could be done-that the Dome and the city could come back-now see a 9-acre round billboard that has a clear message. The Superdome and New Orleans are back big time.
Following the biggest rebuilding project ever attempted in a major stadium, Sept. 25, 2006, has become a significant date in the history of an historic city. The reopening of the Superdome, with the Saints playing on Monday Night Football, launched a citywide celebration. It was watched by millions on television and provided a lifetime memory for everyone who was present.
They discovered a new Superdome sporting a fresh look with contemporary color schemes, dazzling graphics, state-of-the-art LED video boards and scoreboards, hundreds of flat-screen TVs, bigger and better concession stands, and remodeled suites and reception rooms. The work on the upgrades continued through the 2011 off-season.
The reopening of the Superdome began a successful run of sports and entertainment unprecedented in New Orleans, before or after Hurricane Katrina, with Sugar Bowls, Allstate BCS National Championships, the NCAA Men's and Women's Final Fours and an NFL Super Bowl.
The Sugar Bowl has played a vital role as it has for several decades, attracting visitors and national media to the city and keeping New Orleans in the minds of millions.