Before the Dome-good history article (1 Viewer)

where yat brah

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Tulane Stadium left its mark on New Orleans

And here's the thing: Without Tulane Stadium, there would have been no John Gilliam, at least not with the Saints, no kick return that old men are still jawing about today. There would have been no team, not without the preexisting stadium in which to install it, and college football might have died out in the city years before. There'd have been none of the unique culture that the Saints bred, and the passion the city heaps upon its beloved teams would have been directed elsewhere.

The crackpot in question was Dave Dixon, the father of the Superdome and the man most responsible for bringing the Saints to New Orleans. He'd spent years wrestling with government to get antitrust legislation passed, which ultimately landed him the Saints and paved the way for the NFL-AFL merger.

That game set college football attendance records for a night game and for any game played in the South, drawing 86,598 fans, and when it was all but over, the Tulane faithful are said to have urinated onto retreating LSU fans off of the upper deck.

Look at the documents from the original Tulane Stadium, back when it broke ground, and you'll notice a familiar name: Benson. It's Herbert Benson this time, Tom's great uncle, who was the architect of the original stadium and a president of the Sugar Bowl in the 1930s.

Then, at halftime, performers reenacted the Battle of New Orleans, and the whole thing went awry when a cannon misfired, blowing off one man's hand. That caused the horse carrying the fellow playing Andrew Jackson to bolt and, by proxy, the British to win, rewriting fake history. Then, to add insult to literal injury, the man with the bloody hand was almost run over by one of those very ostriches and the small chariot it pulled.
 

NCSaint

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Thanks for sharing. My grandparents were season ticket holders and took me to Saints games in Tulane stadium. I still remember the stadium shaking as people stomped their feet in the stands.
 

Cincy Saint

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For any of us old timers, this is a fantastic article. The amount of detail and the flavor that this young writer from another city captured is amazing. I have such fond memories of Tulane games, the three Super Bowls, and of course Saints' games.

Two memories of my own...

Eating lunch under the stands when I attended Tulane Day Camp in the summer.

Having "student" season tickets in the South End Zone - price $1.50 per game!
 

Cuozzo67

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Thanks for posting. Bad teams, but great memories.

As I remember, the ostrich races were the halftime show at the Browns game ... I'm guessing 1969 season. That accident with the cannon happened at the halftime of the Rams game in 1970 ... I remember because the next afternoon, Tom Fears was fired, and the next game was the following Sunday against the Lions.

Don't take the Dome for granted, either, because there were some very hot and cold ... and a few rainy days ... at the old stadium. And if you sat in the east stands you had to battle the sun, too. One of my favorite games was played in the rain and mud and featured Joe Kapp and Billy Kilmer. The Saints beat the Vikings that day. The worst memory has to be the 62-7 opening day loss to the Falcons. The game was humiliating, and it was so hot and miserable.
 

champ76

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Wow. Excellent writing. When I saw the flags flying over the stadium from my dorm room on a Sunday morning, I knew no studying would get done that day. Those memories will stay with me forever.
 

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I will get flamed for this, but I actually liked the days of Tulane Stadium more than the modern era in the dome. I had season tickets in both stadiums, but I liked the open-air feel of Tulane better than the closed-in, artifically-lit Superdome with its shadowy stands and blocked views of the replay screen. I love the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair. Plus it just seemed right that a football game be played in an open stadium. I could've done without the really hot days and the rain, but there weren't really that many of those. Just looking at that pic on the website gives me chills.Those memories will stay with me forever.
 

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"Jetpack" beer vendors. Had my first two whole beers at the last game in Tulane Stadium. The men who sat around us all went and bought a round and showed up at the same time, so all the kids got a beer or two.
 

dtc

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Thanks for sharing. My grandparents were season ticket holders and took me to Saints games in Tulane stadium. I still remember the stadium shaking as people stomped their feet in the stands.
Yes, how about splinters? Remember them?
 

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Great article, thanks for posting...

It's amazing, they really had no parking around the stadium... I remember going to the games as a kid, if my dad got a free spot, he was usually all excited and happy...

I also remember my dad buying peanuts form kids selling them for 10 cents a bag...

Those days were a blast, we had season tickets in the NW endzone, my first game, when I heard people stomping their feet on the metal upper deck, it scared the **** out of me...

Worst part about those wooden benches was, if it rained the night before, unless you had something to sit on, you would get a wet ***..

Awesome pic BTW.... Could you imagine the Super Bowl in a stadium today with bench seats... No friggin way....

 

Cuozzo67

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When the polyturf was installed at Tulane Stadium prior to the 1971 season, it made the playing surface very hot, especially during those September and October games. The team wore only the white jerseys at home to try and deal with the heat and the glare coming off the turf. They never wore the black jerseys at home after the turf was installed.

During the heat of the day, the turf could actually get slippery, and the traction wasn't that good. When the weather turned cooler or there was rain, the traction wasn't a problem. The groundskeepers had the same problem at the Orange Bowl when they installed the same kind of polyturf.

Artificial turf in the late 1960's and early 1970's was like playing on outdoor carpet laid over cement. The players hated it ... and with good reason. Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and the Astrodome were considered the worst. Wendell Davis, the great LSU WR, caught his foot in the seams of the turf at Philadelphia, and it basically ended his career. I think he tore up both of his knees on the same play.
 

jimrip

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Awesome article.. thanks!

I was blown away by this little clip tho':

When Tulane's new home, Yulman Stadium, opens in 2014, it'll sit just northeast of where the old one was situated, but no matter its amenities, it'll never be as imposing or magnificent as its predecessor. The school saved the stone archway from old Tulane Stadium's façade, though, and it plans to install it over the entrance of the new one.
For anyone who remembers the stadium, the stone facade was at the South end. I also thought they should have left that one part remain when they demolished the stadium. I can't believe someone had the foresight to dismantle it instead! Totally awesome!
 

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where yat brah

where yat brah

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Ironic in that this article is published on the same day as the TP runs their article about Tulane "reaching an agreement" with the NIMBY's for Yulman.

Tulane ready to move ahead with on-campus football stadium construction now that agreement is reached with the City of New Orleans | NOLA.com

Some neighbors expressed profound concern over the proposed stadium’s use, it’s size and proximity to Audubon Blvd. residents, parking and traffic overflow for fans going to the stadium and light and noise pollution worries.

Tulane also agreed to change the seats in the stadium from an alumiunum base to a concrete base to reduce noise and promised a sound system that will reduce noise outside the stadium.


Compare that to what it used to be:

Berger parked cars in his parents' driveway, charging commensurate with the caliber of the game. Everyone had their favorite spot, their friend who had a corner of his lawn reserved and a Bloody Mary waiting. Tailgates were cocktail parties, and afterward there was hardly the crush out of Uptown you'd expect; everyone went back to finish off those drinks and pour a few more.

Gosh, the closer you lived to the stadium, the more privileged you felt. All the friends would come to your house.


If CJ can get the city interested in Tulane football again and the new BE holds together and Rick Dickson will learn how to put together a respectable OOC schedule, it sure would put a smile on a lot of faces.
 

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