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Dave Dixon Drive Honors the Visionary Who Built the New Orleans Superdome

Where would New Orleans be without the vision of Dave Dixon? There would be no Superdome, there would be no New Orleans Saints, there wouldn’t be that iconic structure that now fills the landscape of the city as if it’s always been there. And the city would be a lot poorer because of it.

Dave Dixon Drive Honors Visionary Who Built the New Orleans Superdome

Dave Dixon Drive was recently designated to honor the man who built the Superdome.

Dave Dixon Drive was recently designated to honor the man who built the Superdome.  Photo – Richard Bienvenu

The billions of dollars that the city has realized since the construction of the Superdome would not have happened if Mr. Dixon had not had that idea that flooded his imagination. Along with his people skills, business acumen and political connections he took a fantastic almost crazy idea, fired up other people about it, worked tirelessly and finally brought it to fruition.

What the Superdome, still the largest structure of its kind in the world, has done for the city of New Orleans is immeasurable and now he has been recognized posthumously (he died in 2010) with a drive named after him alongside the structure that he imagined and bought to reality.

I was honored to be invited today by Mrs. Dixon, a friend of the family, to be at this dedication. I took some videos and photos in hopes that I could have some small part in honoring the man who changed the face of the city. The transcripts of the speeches follows.


Mary Dixon – Wife of Dave Dixon

Jackie Clarkson – New Orleans City Council
“It is possible, because I’m older than all of you, to tell you that I knew Dave Dixon before he had this dream and before he had this vision… but more importantly I remember being a citizen living through the dream who had had a father in public office who created a vision called NORD. And when Dave Dixon would share with me that I would say he was the most visionary man I know, he’d say, “well, I’m following people like Chep Morrison and John Brectel. And he would say, “and someday you may help me do a part of it.”

“I didn’t then help Dave do anything. I worked in an office. But I did help do this and it’s my small contribution to one of the most visionary men this city has ever witnessed who not only followed the people he admired and their visions but copied them all. Because he created a new beginning, not just a new location, but a new beginning for the city of New Orleans. And he did it with such grace and such fun. And he was such a wonderful man to know. And still was a business man, he everything and anything, a husband and a father, and it’s Stewart ,Shea, and Frank.

“Ladies and gentleman, it’s an honor and a privilege to not only represent the mayor of New Orleans but the entire city council that is so very proud to do this legislation. This is the perfect street for Dave Dixon Drive. Arnie left, we changed mayors, this mayor Landrieu was more supportive. So what was the delay? The delay was everybody involved wanting to make it bigger. They wanted to name the Superdome but they’d have to pay for the naming rights and we didn’t want to do that to the Dixon family.

“But this is just the beginning for the most visionary plan the city has ever seen. And not just a vision and not just a plan but executed with mastery. That was his key. He managed to envision and plan and execute in his own simple style that was so magnificent, overwhelmingly magnificent.

“This is where we begin to say thank you Dave Dixon and someday I hope will be bigger than this. Thank you all so much for being a part of it. We are all honored to be here on behalf of the mayor and the whole council and to be a part at of all of you that has helped make this possible. Thank you for believing in the greatest vision on earth. Thank you.”

Mary Dixon
“A woman came to the house she said, ‘I’m going to miss your father because he always told me how beautiful I was.’ And I said, ‘You know he lied a lot.’ And she said, ‘Yes I know but nobody else tells me that.’

“Well, David did tell me how wonderful I was. He told me that over and over again that I had the moon and the stars and everything else. And our life together was so incredible.

“We did things I never dreamed we could possibly do. One day he came home and said you know the boys are just at the right age. We could pull them out of school and go to Europe for a year. In a month we were on the train to New York, getting on a ship, going to Europe for a year. Closed up the house and off we went.

“He did things like that. He not only thought them, he did them. And I’m so proud of everything he has accomplished and the reputation that he has in this community. When I mention who I am, the wife of, people just open up to me and that is such a special thing.

“I’m very grateful to Jackie Clarkson. Arnie Feilkow started it but she pushed and pushed and pushed and it would not be happening today if it wasn’t for Jackie and I thank you very much. Thank you for coming because everyone of you here meant something to David. All of you have played some part in his life and I really thank you for coming to celebrate with us Dave Dixon Drive. Thank you. People asked me for a comment, I’m so excited. We’ll get a bench and put it under that sign and I’ll just sit there. Thank you.”

Mary Dixon and Family

Mary Dixon and Family

 

Dave Dixon at his desk

Dave Dixon at his desk

 

At the groundbreaking for the Superdome.

At the groundbreaking for the Superdome in 1971

 

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