NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Nov. 1 marks the 40th anniversary of the UNO Lakefront Arena designed by architect Arthur Q. Davis.

Built on the 90-acre east campus of the University of New Orleans, the arena has hosted more than 1,200 concerts, nearly 900 graduation ceremonies, 1,200 basketball games and more throughout its history.

The $38 million arena opened its doors on Nov. 1, 1983, and has since been a “world-class destination” for live entertainment from Lionel Richie, The Pointer Sisters, Fantasia, Kirk Franklin and Family and more.

“Whether a commencement ceremony, concert, or athletic competition, events are a reflection of the importance of our higher education institutions. That’s why I’m so proud of our consistent bipartisan investment in higher education in my eight years as governor. Congratulations to the Lakefront Arena team and the UNO community on this notable achievement,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

Officials with the UNO Lakefront Arena have partnered with promoters through the years to bring in people like Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Jimmy Buffett, Jeff Dunham, Billy Strings, KISS, Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, James Taylor, Motley Crew, REM, The Black Keys, Widespread Panic, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nicki Minaj, Wiz Khalifa, Sting and even Mickey Mouse. 

Not only has it been a place for live entertainment but also the set of some movies like “Grudge Match,” “The Dirt,” “Now You See Me,” “Disney Crossover,” “Heaven’s Prisoners” and “Green Lantern.”

The arena is the home of the UNO Privateers and also the home of some notable sports moments in history like the Sun Belt Conference and Larry Bird’s career-high of 60 points on March 12, 1985.

“It is an exceptional and in-demand venue for concerts, performances, graduations and festivals. But it is so much more. Like the University of New Orleans, the arena is a true community asset that occupies a unique niche in the region. This is a milestone worth celebrating,” said University of New Orleans President Dr. Kathy Johnson.

Suffering damage during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the arena was able to reopen in May 2008 with new additions like Spotlights, One Lounge, The G4 Bar, Pier 504 and Skybox. 

The arena has a calendar full of events to close out 2023 starting with The Winter White House Party on Nov. 3.

To check for more events, visit the Lakefront Arena website.

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