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Should the Superdome be torn down?

By Times staff writers
Published September 18, 2005


In time, the floodwaters will recede. In time, people will return to their homes. In time, New Orleans will be rebuilt.

When it is, the last thing residents will want is a monolithic reminder of everything that went wrong in the wake of the worst natural disaster in American history.

People will not look at the Superdome and recall fond memories of concerts, Super Bowls, even a pope's visit.

They will remember the starvation, looting, rape and murder that took place in and around its walls after Hurricane Katrina.

Builders can decontaminate, deodorize and dry out the dome. Restore power, repair holes and lay new carpet. But they'll never fully cleanse the building of the devastation and heartbreak it has come to symbolize.

Consider, too, the effect on the city's psyche if the Saints move to San Antonio or Los Angeles, leaving the building empty without a full-time tenant.

Tear down the dome, which is past the point of repair, and focus instead on finding displaced residents homes and jobs.



The message from President Bush on down about New Orleans is clear: The city must be rebuilt.

As people trickle back to New Orleans, homes and businesses should be first on the rebuilding list. The rebuilding of a sports stadium should only be addressed after more important needs are satisfied.

But when the issue of the Louisiana Superdome does come up, here's hoping New Orleans decides to fix up the landmark stadium instead of tearing it down. The stadium has stood since 1975, when the Saints played their first NFL season in the dome. Since then it has hosted six Super Bowls, four NCAA Final Fours and every Sugar Bowl, as well as numerous other events.

Yes, the Superdome was a horrible place during Hurricane Katrina. Yes, it received extensive damage, especially to the roof. But rebuilding the dome would be a nod to New Orleans' resilience. Like the city, the Superdome is wounded but not dead. Certainly not this year, maybe not next year, but down the road the Superdome should rise again as a symbol of the strength of those in New Orleans.


[Last modified September 18, 2005, 02:15:36]


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