When the crowd is roaring, it’s hard to beat the decibel level inside the Superdome, but the fan experience goes far beyond what folks are cheering about on the field.
Lenny Martinsen likens himself to a team manager in baseball. The Superdome’s exuberant executive chef coordinates 7 different kitchens and meals for 72,000 guests. Martinsen says, “We smoke 1,200 pounds of pork just for our BBQ alone. We’ll probably cook about 2,000 pounds of shrimp just for this game.”
Preparations start very early for food service at the Superdome. The work week begins on Monday and the work day begins at 12:00 am! According to Martinsen, “Every sous chef has a responsibility and its my job to tie it all together and make sure everything is happening.”
Today’s specials? Fried fish for luxury suites and chocolate covered strawberries for VIPs. While Martinsen’s staff whisk away in the kitchen, the Saintsations warm up on the field. At 7:00 am, they’re already rehearsing. We also find ROTC on the field warming up for their flag formation and grabbing a sneak peak!
Soon, the production team begins rolling in. “We get up in the morning and pray that we win. First thing,” says Jerry Romig. “After that, we get to the stadium about 2 hours before kick-off.” Romig is the legendary voice of the black and gold. He’s called plays for decades and hasn’t missed a game yet! Romig is part of an in-house crew, 50 strong, that manages every video screen, billboard, song and sound.
General Manager Alan Freeman ensures they’re a well-oiled machine. “We actually do a dress rehearsal of all the production aspects Thursday evening prior to a Sunday football game.” When that game arrives, the sleepy stadium comes to life. Inside, the food is set and fans find their seats. Outside, it’s an urban tailgate, as thousands squeeze into Champion Square and Club XLIV. They’re just a few of the new additions since rebuilding after the storm.
“It’s always been a very iconic and legendary building, but after Katrina it was the symbol for misery and suffering,” says SMG Vice President Doug Thornton. “And now coming back, it has been completely reborn. I call this the golden age of the Superdome. It’s never looked better.”
And thanks to 1,700 Superdome workers, it’s never been a better place to cheer on our hometown Saints.