New Tulane stadium a done deal

On campus games could return by 2014


New Orleans bureau

New Orleans — Football will make a return to Tulane University’s campus after more than three decades at the Superdome.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Friday signed off on an agreement that will allow the university to build a 30,000-capacity on-campus stadium, ending months of controversy about the project and allowing work to begin. The city on Friday evening quietly released an open letter to neighbors and a copy of the agreement that officials say resolves many issues about which neighbors were concerned.

Still, some who live near the site of the future stadium, which will be built just off South Claiborne Avenue and will abut some homes on Audubon Boulevard, are not pleased with all aspects of the agreement.

In a letter sent earlier Friday to the Mayor’s Task Force on Tulane Stadium, members of the Upper Audubon, Central Carrollton, State Street Drive, Audubon Boulevard Parkway, Audubon Boulevard, Versailles Boulevard and Carrollton Area neighborhood associations expressed concern about several aspects of the stadium’s operation, including:

The city, however, noted in its letter to neighbors that many of those aspects have been addressed in the agreement.

Among the changes to which Tulane has agreed are:

Debate about the stadium began almost as soon as plans were announced.

District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry sought to impose an “interim zoning district” that could stop Tulane from building the stadium. The council voted in July to kill that measure.

Guidry had said that her goal was not to prevent the stadium project, only to ensure it is built in a way that tries to satisfy all parties involved in the discussions. Guidry’s district includes Tulane’s campus.

Guidry on Saturday said she figures adjustments to the agreement will be necessary after the stadium begins operation and that she expects any changes to be made with neighbors’ best interests in mind.

“While there are contingencies that are not covered under the agreement, I trust that Tulane will continue to work with the neighbors to protect their quality of life while operating a successful athletic stadium,” Guidry said in a prepared statement.

The new home of Tulane football will be called Yulman Stadium. The facility is expected to cost $65 million. Tulane spokesman Mike Strecker said on Saturday that university officials hope to break ground this month and have the stadium completed by July 2014.

In an e-mail sent to students that Strecker provided to The Advocate, the university said it will soon announce a date for a community meeting to discuss the stadium’s construction.

The old Tulane Stadium opened in 1926, not too far from where Yulman Stadium will be built, and seated 35,000 people. A series of expansions allowed nearly 81,000 fans to attend games.

Tulane demolished the stadium in 1980 after the football program moved its games to the Superdome.