News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Superdome’s rebirth good for New Orleans

Seventy-one-year-old Irma Warner had a home in New Orleans' Lakeview neighborhood last year before Hurricane Katrina.

She and her husband, Pascal, 80, still have the house, but they live in an apartment while they work six days a week to reclaim their home that was flooded by seven feet of water.

That's their universe. So instead of going down to the Superdome to celebrate its re-opening Monday, she took a ride through the Ninth Ward that flood waters wiped out. And she wondered about spending $185 million on the Superdome when so many people were still without anything.

Hers is a good question that many poor people of New Orleans keep asking.

The answer is hard: New Orleans as a city can benefit more from having the Superdome reopen than it can from rebuilding the Ninth Ward.

The Superdome is part of the engine that makes New Orleans go. Its tax revenue may ultimately help rebuild the Ninth Ward and other neighborhoods.

But the Superdome is more. It has become a symbol of the city's emergence from devastation. Many more people than the 68,000 who saw the greatly hyped football game between the Saints and the Atlanta Falcons showed up at the Superdome to be part of the New Orleans they loved.

Irma and Pascal Warner probably had been asleep for hours before the after-game celebrating ended. And they probably got up Tuesday morning thinking about the $185 million and how just a few thousand dollars from that sum could get them back into the Lakeview home.

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