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Blog #5: Don Quixote Tilts at the Superdome

John Schwegmann’s most futile political battle was fought over the fate of the Superdome. While he was not opposed to the idea of a domed stadium, he stridently objected to the corrupt processes that actually brought it into existence. Indeed, as New Orleans’ leading opponent of the Dome, John exerted superhuman efforts to defeat what he perceived to be nothing but a swindle, a scandal, a boondoggle, a public rip-off of immense proportions.

Of course, he was eventually crushed—his valiant opposition to this “cash-gulping monster” slowly steamrolled by the city’s power elite. Yet its victory did not come easy. In fact, it took nine long, controversy-encrusted years before the Superdome finally opened in 1975.

Dave Dixon, John McKeithen, and other Superdome movers-and-shakers encountered their toughest adversary in an eccentric modern-day Don Quixote named John Schwegmann. In this his final battle, John fought tooth-and-nail against impossible odds. It was like the final scene from The Last Samurai—a glorious warrior of the old order mercilessly destroyed to make way for the new.

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