Saints and Pelicans Owner/Chairman of the Board Tom Benson and wife Gayle and Saints and Pelicans Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc joined the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee, Chevron, the City of New Orleans, and NORDC on Friday to celebrate the successful reopening of Harrell Stadium. The stadium is the new home for the turf from Super Bowl XLVII.
In addition to the turf, Chevron funded the renovation of Harrell's basketball court, a new stadium scoreboard and PA system through the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) Foundation.
"The grand opening of this stadium is a great way to capstone all of the amazing service efforts that happened before, during and after Super Bowl XLVII," said Mr. Benson. "I can't imagine a better legacy for our Mercedes-Benz Superdome turf than resting here for all of these children and budding athletes to enjoy. After our 10th Super Bowl as host – and I think the best one yet – I can't wait to see what is in store when we host our record-breaking 11th Super Bowl."
Each year, the NFL Foundation provides a $1 million matching grant to the Super Bowl host city. The NORD Foundation, through the City of New Orleans and Chevron, raised the local million dollar match and produced a first-of-its-kind event, the Super Saturday of Service. Five NORDC playgrounds were the recipients of capital improvements throughout Super Bowl weekend, including Harrell Stadium, Lyons Center, Hunter's Field, Kingswood Playspot and Pontchartrain Park. Chevron was pleased to partner with NORDC to support the five facilities, and hopes this investment breathes new life into the play and community gathering spaces that are vital to the economic and social vibrancy of New Orleans neighborhoods.
"I am thrilled that the historic Super Bowl XLVII field will be utilized for years to come," said LeBlanc. "The repurposing of this synthetic turf ensures the sustainability of the resources from the game for the long-term benefit of this city's youth. Harrell is an important location for the Saints and Pelicans youth clinics which we will host here throughout the year. Our goal is to bring the joy of recreation to as many happy, bright faces in New Orleans as possible."
The event also included interactive football skill drills for the kids, as well as a Chevron inflatable. Following the press conference, the Benson Family and Mayor Landrieu helped hold a "Hooray for Harrell" banner as the kids ran through it to celebrate the opening of the field.