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Saintswrath 08-08-2010 01:49 PM

Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning at 87
 
The legendary New Orleans man that brought two of the most important icons to the city, died on Sunday at the age of 87.

Dave Dixon passed away on Sunday after dealing with failing health over the past few weeks. His son Frank Dixon advised that his father died at home.

He was a businessman, art dealer, people person, and the person known as the man that brought professional football to New Orleans. On November 1, 1966, Mr. Dixon became the man responsible for bringing the Saints home.

Mr. Dixon is also who the person responsible for the Louisiana Superdome. he worked hand-in-hand with then LA Governor John McKeithen to bring about our huge landmark and make it real.

Full story here:
'Father of the Superdome' Dave Dixon passes away at 87

SmashMouth 08-08-2010 01:51 PM

Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning
 
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David F. Dixon, the driving force behind the concept and construction of the Louisiana Superdome and the father of professional football in New Orleans, died this morning, his son Frank Dixon said.
Working with Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, Mr. Dixon also founded World Championship Tennis, the linchpin of the open tennis format which ignited the high popularity of the sport. He also founded the United States Football League, which has since gone out of business.
The owner of Dixon and Dixon, a French Quarter art and antiques dealer, Mr. Dixon was a graduate of Tulane University. In recognition of his civic work, he was awarded the 1989 Times-Picayune Loving Cup, which is presented to New Orleans citizens who have worked unselfishly for the community without expectation of public recognition or reward.
He also has received an honorary degree and the Yenni Award for Distinguished Community Service from Loyola University. In 1986, he received the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Mr. Dixon was invested as a Knight of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem in 1985, and, in 1989, as a Knight of St. Gregory. Both are papal orders.
He spoke at the graduate business schools of Stanford and Harvard universities.
"I know I'll always be remembered for the Saints and Superdome," Mr. Dixon said in 1990, "and I'm proud of that. But I also hope to be remembered as a person who worked for the brotherhood of man in his autumn years. Nothing, I sincerely believe, is more important than that."
One of Mr. Dixon's early supporters in the push to build the Dome was Gov. John J. McKeithen, who, while he was in office in the late 1960s, worked to launch the giant project.

David Dixon
"In my entire public life or even private life, so far as that is concerned, I have never known a finer man. Unselfish, generous, honorable, energetic, and working always to improve New Orleans in all categories and phases," McKeithen said.
The Superdome has transformed Poydras Street into a main thoroughfare, and a business section which rivals Canal Street, New Orleans' traditional shopping center. Poydras, which had been a grim street bordered by railroad yards before the stadium rose, owes its flowering to the giant, mushroom-shaped structure that Mr. Dixon conceived.
Since its opening in 1975, the Superdome has attracted five Super Bowls, three NCAA Final Four tournaments, two NCAA regionals, and hundreds of major conventions, including the 1988 Republican National Convention. The Rolling Stones have played the mammoth arena four times, and, since 1995, the Dome has been the site of the burgeoning Essence Festival.
Another factor that helped lure New Orleans' three pre-Dome Super Bowls was the presence of the Saints, the professional-football franchise that Mr. Dixon helped make a reality.
It started in 1958, when Mayor DeLesseps S. "Chep" Morrison was heavily involved in trying to save the city's minor league Pelicans and, at the same time, trying to attract a major league franchise.
"I had been talking to Chep about some very informal plans he had been talking about to build a stadium on the lakefront to catch the eye of the major leagues," Mr. Dixon said. "I told him I thought the best and most likely avenue for our entry into major league sports was professional football. The NFL wasn't that big a deal then.
"He said, 'Why don't you do it?' I was shocked. Surprised."
Others endorsed the idea, all with the suggestion Mr. Dixon do it himself.
"That's how it got started," he said, "and then I had a tiger by the tail and couldn't let go. Always, at the point where any sane, sensible man would have given up, some little spark of encouragement -- or what I would perceive as encouragement -- would occur."
Tulane University's policy of not allowing Sunday football in its stadium -- a necessity, until the Superdome was built, in luring the NFL -- was one of Mr. Dixon's highest hurdles. He enlisted the private support of Joseph M. Jones, chairman of the Tulane Board of Administrators. But when Jones died, Mr. Dixon thought the venture could be in jeopardy.
But Darwin Fenner, Jones' successor as chairman of Tulane's board, told Mr. Dixon that he was aware of Jones' commitment and that he would work for the approval, which was granted in time for a 1963 exhibition doubleheader.
Mr. Dixon promoted exhibition games in 1962 and 1963 to demonstrate New Orleans' base of support. The first game was played at City Park Stadium, which had limited seating. The second date, the doubleheader, played at Tulane, drew more than 75,000 spectators.
"To show how naive I was," Mr. Dixon said, "how foolishly optimistic, in 1962, we passed out season ticket pledge forms for 1963. I still have about 50 of the pencils passed out, with the inscription 'New Orleans Saints, 1963.' "
Influential politicians, including House Majority Whip Hale Boggs and U.S. Senator Russell Long, helped Mr. Dixon bring professional football to New Orleans when the sport faced a serious anti-trust legislation. Boggs and Long steered an antitrust exception through Congress, which, in effect, cleared the way for a merger of the National Football League and the American Football League.
The reward for the legislative end run was a New Orleans franchise, awarded on All Saints Day 1966.
The team was to be called the Saints, a name Mr. Dixon had cleared with Archbishop Philip M. Hannan. "He thought it would be a good idea," Mr. Dixon recalled in an interview. "He had an idea the team was going to need all the help it could get."
The famed architect Buckminster Fuller provided the inspiration for the Superdome more 20 years before it or its predecessor, the Astrodome, was built.
Mr. Dixon got the idea reading an article about Fuller, who envisioned domed centers in the cities of the future. Fuller later was commissioned to design a domed stadium, which never became a reality, for Walter O'Malley's Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
Shortly after McKeithen's inauguration in 1964, he was visited by Mr. Dixon, armed with artist renderings of the building and drawings of elaborate meeting rooms and movable screens.
McKeithen embraced Mr. Dixon's stadium idea with startling enthusiasm. "He said, 'That would be the greatest building in the history of man. By God, we'll build it.' "
An amendment to the state Constitution had to be drafted to create a governing body and secure the financing. It passed, but then McKeithen wanted to increase the seats from 50,000 to 75,000. Delays, inflation and litigation over the expansion pushed the final tab to $163 million.
"A bargain," Mr. Dixon said with a wide smile. "That building has changed New Orleans, and it can do more."
Mr. Dixon is survived by his wife, Mary, and his three sons.


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SmashMouth 08-08-2010 01:54 PM

Re: Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning
 
http://media.nola.com/news_impact/ph...7e2e_small.jpg

RIP.

Saintswrath 08-08-2010 01:56 PM

Re: Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning at 87
 
The Man was simply dedicated, widely responsible for New Orleans Last Boom it ever had, they don't make em like this in the south anymore..
He's a clear example of how a real businessman suppose to do it, the state tried their best to stop it, the city pretended to like it but didn't dream as hard, and the man had passion and just drove it down everyone' throat until it was a done deal even after the state wanted to take the credit.
If New Orleans had a few guys like him right now in the city the city could eclipse any other growing or big city anywhere.

God bless you Dave, i wasn't around when you did all that you did but in Louisiana history i was forced and glad i was forced to read you in Louisiana History, then further my knowledge of you later on via the internet when it became the major source of information....

foreverfan 08-08-2010 02:31 PM

Re: Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning at 87
 
Thank god he got to see the Saints win the Superbowl.

Thanks for everything Mr. Dixon. My condolences to the family. :bng:

Rusty 08-08-2010 02:57 PM

Re: Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning at 87
 
R.I.P Mr Dixon Thank you for the contributions to the Saints and the Superdome all of us on this and any other Saints forums salutes and thanks you for all of your hard work for New Orleans and the State as well some one sugest a statue of Mr Dixon should be erected and should Our heart and Prayers are with the Dixon Family

strato 08-08-2010 03:04 PM

Re: Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning at 87
 
R.I.P

breesfan27 08-08-2010 04:58 PM

Re: Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning at 87
 
R.I.P. Mr. Dixon. Thank you for helping to bring the greatest football franchise to the greatest city in the world!

Rugby Saint II 08-08-2010 05:09 PM

Re: Dave Dixon, driving force behind Superdome, dies Sunday morning at 87
 
It is good that he was so well respected. That says a lot about the man. RIP


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