NEW ORLEANS - Ten years after the Astrodome was opened and dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World, New Orleans got its own domed multi-purpose stadium. Nearly 40 years later, the Crescent City is getting ready to host its 10th Super Bowl. It'll be the seventh one in the Superdome.
Construction on the Superdome began in 1971. It took four years and a lot of man power to complete.
In 1975, the Houston Oilers beat the Saints in the very first NFL preseason game in the stadium.
The Superdome became the site of Final Four basketball, concerts, boxing matches, even the Republican National Convention.
The last time the Superdome was the site of the Super Bowl was in 2002, just a few months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Football fans were greeted by armed guards.
"2002 was a much different situation. It was a national security special event, mainly managed by the Secret Service," said SMG Executive Doug Thornton.
It wasn't a sporting event that sent the Superdome into the headlines in 2005, it was a super storm. Thirty-thousand New Orleans residents moved into the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina, when it became a refuge of last resort. The dome was closed for 13 months after that for major repairs. More renovations were done in 2011.
"The folks that haven't been here since the last Super Bowl and the international visitors who don't come on a regular basis are going to see a completely different building from the inside," said Thornton.
From the outside, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome glows bright due to a LED lighting system that's just part of the $336 million in upgrades done since Katrina.
"It's a jewel. The engineering of the building initially was fantastic so that changes could be made to it," said Bill Curl, who is retired from the Superdome Public Relations Department.
This year, 5,000 workers will be on the clock at the Superdome Sunday to make sure game day goes smoothly.
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