Champions Square

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Coordinates: 29°57′00″N 90°04′41″W / 29.95000°N 90.07806°W / 29.95000; -90.07806

Champions Square pictured in 2011

Champions Square is an outdoor festival plaza connected via grand staircase to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the primary event space used for concerts before events at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the New Orleans Arena.

Features[edit]

The 121,000 square-foot[1] plaza is centered around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans Arena, Hyatt Regency, Benson Tower, and numerous parking garages and food courts. Phase I included the construction of the plaza and staircase leading from the Superdome. Construction initially began in the Spring of 2010 and Champions Square formally opened August 21, 2010.[2] Phase II further improved the square following the 2010-2011 NFL season with the installation of a new permanent grand staircase with amphitheater seating,[3] permanent restroom facilities, stone pavement, LED lighting, palm trees, and a vine wall spanning the length of the plaza alongside the Superdome.[4]

Before each NFL football game, the square hosts concerts which are free and open to the public. The square is only open to pedestrian traffic. Inside the square there are numerous food and beverage options either in the food court or outside under tents.

Champions Square has become the site for the annual "Gleason Gras", whose purpose is to raise awareness and funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).[5]

History[edit]

The site was originally the location of the Girod Street Cemetery from 1822 to 1957. The cemetery was moved prior to the construction of the Superdome, and subsequently the New Orleans Centre shopping mall was erected on the site. In 2005, the shopping mall closed due to Hurricane Katrina. The shopping mall never re-opened, and was almost entirely demolished in the Spring of 2010 to begin construction of Champions Square.[6] The former Macy's department store area and the parking garage, now called Champions Garage, are the only remnants of the original shopping mall.

Future expansion[edit]

In 2013 construction was completed on a four level balcony added to the southern side Benson Tower overlooking the square. The addition also houses a secondary studio for the Benson-owned Fox station WVUE-DT (Channel 8), which airs their morning newscasts, Saints and sports-related programming from that facility.[7][8]

The Times-Picayune reported on August 15, 2010 that Phase III would include building out the façade and adding a permanent food court, and would be completed sometime after New Orleans hosts Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.[2] Beyond that, planners have envisioned the area will be successful enough to build a residential tower sprouting out of the top of the former Macy's department store space.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]