NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Members of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, also known as the Superdome Commission, honored the memory of Nancy Parker and former Governor Kathleen Blanco during the commission’s meeting at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Wednesday (Aug. 21).
Kyle France, chairman of the commission, called Parker an icon.
"The death of one of our premier citizens in this city, Nancy Parker, who passed away along with Franklin Augustus doing the people's work, reporting a story. Franklin, I know did a lot of work with the sheriff's office here locally, but Nancy was really an icon in our community,” France said.
Commissioners sat next to an empty chair with a nameplate bearing Blanco’s name and a flower arrangement.
During the meeting, a resolution was passed to honor Blanco’s legacy. She is credited with making sure the Superdome was renovated as quickly as possible after being damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Both France and Doug Thornton, Executive VP of SMG, which manages the dome, said what Blanco did following Katrina took political strength.
“From the political courage side, that took an incredible amount of courage because there were very, very few people who were saying save the Superdome,” said France.
Thornton said Blanco never wavered.
“She knew that to jump-start the recovery, to get the state's biggest asset back in commerce would be a major contribution and she never really got the credit that she deserved for that, for that decision. There were a lot of people at the time that didn't understand it,” said Thornton.
The commission also passed resolutions related to funding a major renovation of the Superdome. It was action that Thornton said would help to get the project underway.
"We will engage with the banks to get our first amount of funding, that $30 million dollars. We hope to get a guaranteed maximum price from our contractor in mid-October, that will set the stage for work to begin after the football season. Meanwhile, we’ll be working with the [New Orleans] Saints to finalize the lease amendment and the project development agreement,” said Thornton.