Here’s the final score:
New Orleans 2
San Francisco/Oakland 0
Though Bay Area teams have dominated us on the sports field lately we have a solid lead in the category that’s more important: urban design.
First there is their NBA basketball team that carries the name of neither San Francisco nor Oakland across the bay, but rather the silly title Golden State, which could also apply to Florida or Nevada. The arena where it plays is in Oakland alongside an expressway connecting the bay bridge.
In New Orleans we have an arena that’s located downtown in walking distance of the Central Business District and the French Quarter. What the name Golden State has to do with Warriors is unclear, but New Orleans and Pelicans clearly go together.
Then there are the football stadiums. Our dome is also downtown, with all the conveniences, and next door to the arena. The 49ers decided they needed a new stadium but couldn’t come to an agreement with San Francisco. So, the city of Santa Clara stepped in and made a deal. Now the 49ers play in Levi’s Stadium, which is 44 miles from downtown San Francisco. (Imagine if you lived in New Orleans, wanted to go to a Saints home game and had to drive to Houma; that’s roughly the distance between San Francisco and Santa Clara.)
Sure for the people who live in greater Santa Ciara there’s an advantage, but San Francisco is the hub for transportation, media, places to stay and things to do.
Here’s are more figures:
The distance between where the Bay Area’s NBA team plays and where the 49ers call home.
• Across the street
The distance between where the Pelicans play and where the Saints call home.
Such concentrated construction will make easier the development of a sports entertainment district, and that’s what’s happening. New Orleans did it right.
Next year’s Super Bowl, number 50, will be played at Levi’s Stadium, Feb. 7, 2016. Those who have attended other Super Bowls will lament how more convenient things are when the game is played in New Orleans instead of being sprawled across 100 miles or so. They will know what it means to miss New Orleans. Unless the Saints are in the game, many New Orleanians might be otherwise preoccupied – because that will be Thoth, Mid-City and Bacchus Sunday, two nights before Mardi Gras. One way or the other, we’ll be celebrating. New Orleans wins again.
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BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), has been released. It is now available at local bookstores and at book websites.
Watch “Informed Sources,” Fridays at 7 p.m., repeated at 11:30 p.m. on WYES-TV, Ch. 12.