If it were a city, on Sunday the Superdome would be the 7th biggest in the state. It needs food, security and everything else a city requires to run efficiently. If you consider who makes that all happen, you could say Farrow Bouton is the mayor. “You know, everybody comes to me for directions, advice and solutions, so yeah I kinda feel like I’m the mayor of the city!”
Bouton is now the director of event services, but started as a ticket taker 18 years ago. These days, he’s in charge of ticket takers, janitors and everyone in between. For a 12:05 pm kick-off, he arrives at 6:00 am! Bouton says, “Folks just tend to come in and think all the stuff just appears. The concessions are there already, the security is there already, but it takes an enormous amount of planning starting from our Wednesday operations meeting to current day.”
Bouton’s on a tight schedule, working hand in hand with Vice President Doug Thornton. Any given Sunday, they’ll each walk up to nine miles around the dome! While Thornton greets VIP guests like rock star Jimmy Buffett or Saints owner Tom Benson, Bouton is busy briefing 1,700 employees. “As always, undivided attention for about 15 minutes please. We’re gonna go through today’s objective as it relates to today’s event,” says Bouton to a large crowd.
Every task is scheduled to the minute as staff prepare for guests at 10:00 o’clock sharp. You can hear Bouton talking to the command post on his walkie talkie. “Uhh, command post you can open up doors. 10-4 command post to all. Please open your doors. Repeat command post to all. Please open your doors. 10-4. Okay.”
As the dome fills with who-dats, Bouton’s team transitions from preparation to execution. Most guests never see half of what they do. Thornton says, “We have hundreds of employees that make the operation work every day and they’re the ones that are really the unsung heroes. I don’t know that the general public really focuses on our role. They’re focused on the football game or the live entertainment performance, which is where the focus should be.”
If it goes off without a hitch, Thornton and Bouton can rest easy…that is…until they start planning for next week.