New Orleans is a city famous for its food, its parties, its music, and, in recent years, its football team. The New Orleans Saints took some time to become the NFL force that they are today, but the Super Bowl XLIV champions in 2009 have more than made up for it with the atmosphere and energy that their fans bring to the game-day experience. Mascots Sir Saint and Gumbo help fans cheer on the Saints with lively a black and gold spirit.
The New Orleans Saints have played in the Louisiana Superdome, now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, since 1975. The stadium underwent massive renovations in 2018 at a cost of $240 million to ensure that the over 50-year-old building can compete with newer facilities in regards to amenities and fan experience.
As with any NFL game, half of the fun is in the tailgating with friends before kickoff. Tailgating at the Superdome can begin up to five hours before kick-off for the biggest games, with tailgating restricted to the parking garages around the stadium.
The location of the Superdome and the restrictions in the parking areas mean that RVs and buses are not allowed in the parking garages for tailgating. The best bet for RVers is Surface Lot 3 for day parking, but be aware that this lot fills up quickly. RVers may find the best tailgating options within the community rather than directly associated with the stadium.
NFL game prices are very much dependent on who plays in a particular game. The Saints have been a solid team for some time now, so their home ticket prices aren't going to be among the cheapest in the league. New Orleans is a destination city for visitors, too, so fans will want to make the trip to the Big Easy to watch their team play and explore the region. Expect game prices to be highest when the best teams in the league or a division rival like the Atlanta Falcons come to town.
West of the French Quarter, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome draws Saints fans to the Central Business District in New Orleans. While this isn't perfect for tailgating fun, it is a great spot just off of the freeway that is easy to find thanks to all the signs coming into the area. Fans traveling from the north, east, and west will use I-10 to find the stadium, with the Superdome being just off of one of the exits. Fans coming from the south and across the Mississippi River from the delta will use US-90 to get to the parking lots.
There is plenty of parking available at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on a Saints game day. The nine parking lots have space for almost 7,000 cars, meaning that anyone getting to the facility at anything close to a reasonable time before kick-off should be able to find a space. Seven of those lots are parking garages where tailgating is encouraged, while two are surface lots around the stadium.
RVers have only one option for day parking at the Superdome. The only lot that allows RVs is Lot 3, and guests can expect about $75 charge for oversize parking, but camping and tailgating are not allowed.
Given that tailgating is not allowed in the RV lot, the best bet might be public transportation to the game and leave your Airstream at your campsite. There is a constant stream of shuttle buses headed to the stadium from the downtown city parking lots on game day, and they certainly represent a good option. These drop off and pick up near to the stadium. Other options include public buses that go past the stadium, private limousines, taxis, and ridesharing services.
Staying onsite is not an option as the lots open five hours before a Saints game, and you cannot bring an RV in the night before or leave the following day. The only lot that allows RV parking is Surface Lot 3, a lot that fills up very quickly and retains a good-sized fee for oversize vehicles. If this area is your only option for the day, then make sure to book in advance and be aware that the lots are cash only.
There are numerous RV parks and RV camping options located within a ten-mile radius of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. RVers may choose from parks with full hookups and resort-like amenities, or parks with more limited hookups or onsite facilities. New Orleans KOA offers guests plenty of amenities and sits just 10 miles from the stadium.
Finding accommodation close to the Superdome is tough just because of the location of the stadium in the middle of the Central Business District. There are places to park an RV overnight, but you may find that prices are lower if you stay a little further away from the action.
The lots and garages around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome are generally within walking distance of the stadium. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time to stroll to the game as the area will be busy, and the security lines can take some time to get through if you are there at a busy time. There are no real hills in the area, which makes the walk easy and wandering in from the French Quarter or Warehouse District is a great way to get a feel for the city.
While the inside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be climate-controlled, the same cannot be said of the New Orleans weather. Wearing clothing that will keep you cool if it is muggy outside and then warm enough in the stadium can be tricky, so layers are the key here. Tailgating can start very early, depending on the time of the game, so again have a mix of long and short-sleeved clothing options in the RV because you never exactly know what the weather will be on game day. A good tip is to always have a rain poncho with you for the walk back to your vehicle after the game.
Packing gear for an NFL game is fairly easy. You want to show as much team pride as possible, no matter what side of the game you are on at the stadium. Black, gold, and white are colors you may already have in your wardrobe.
RVers may want team folding chairs and water bottles to go along with the expected jerseys and t-shirts. The Superdome has a Pro Shop, and plenty of merchandise stands if you need to update your gear, but buying online before the day is usually the more cost-effective method.
Football just isn't football unless the whole day is spent in and around the stadium. Be aware, though, that extended periods of time on your feet can cause sore feet and legs. Before you head to Louisiana, prepare for the day ahead and don't get caught out by a situation that will ruin the trip. One way to do that is to make sure you are stocked up on band-aids, pain killers, and a few basic medicines. Also, be careful to monitor the amount of alcohol you drink while tailgating and watching the game.
Tailgating can be a little tricky at the Superdome. The location of the facility, surrounded by businesses and freeways, means that for the safety of all, there is no open flame cooking in the garages. That means that staple items of other tailgates such grills (either charcoal or gas), fire pits, and camping stoves are among the prohibited items.
As a result, your best bet is to go with cold finger foods or to bring something that you can keep in a warmer until the tailgate party is ready for food. One more thing to remember is not to bring glass containers as they are on the banned list.
If you go to New Orleans and don't eat your way to an extra 10 pounds, were you even there? The combination of Creole, Cajun, and soul food in New Orleans makes the region one of the most distinctive in the country when it comes to its food. There are hundreds of restaurants in the area around the Superdome and well over 1,500 in total in the city, with many specializing in food you can't find anywhere else. Getting your fix of po' boys, jambalaya, and gumbo is basically a requirement to attend a Saints game.
When you attend a game at the Superdome, your food and drink possibilities inside of the stadium include standard stadium fare and items with a New Orleans twist. The building has its own executive chef-designed menu, so the food is more impressive than at most other similar venues. You can still find your standard stadium fare, but you can also go for something more regional like a shrimp po'boy or some beignets. Vendors take either cash or credit cards, so there may be little reason not to get through the game with a content stomach.
Attending a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome should be a fun experience. Members of the security team adhere to the stadium's rules to keep a safe feeling in place. Note that all vehicles are subject to a security inspection before parking in the garages or the open-air lots and that you will have to go through the typical security screening before entering the stadium. Before you head inside to the game, make sure you leave all unnecessary items in your RV, and only bring what you need in a stadium-approved bag.
Louisiana weather is known for its humidity and the possibility of hurricanes coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. The Superdome was a shelter during Hurricane Katrina, and with hurricane season lasting from June until November, the threat of inclement and even severe weather during the football season is real.
RVers will be able to take all the clothing they need close to the event, with the biggest key being a change of clothes if the rain comes into the region, or more likely, you sweat through the first set. The game itself is always going to be dry and climate-controlled thanks to the Superdome being an indoor stadium.
If you need to visit with a medical or first-aid team member, the stadium has medical staff on site to help you with your health needs. If you can't locate the first aid stations, ask any member of the staff for directions. For more significant medical issues, fans may visit an emergency room or an urgent care clinic. The closest facilities are located within two miles of the stadium. If you need to pick up something from a pharmacy, numerous pharmacies are within walking distance.