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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 04:32 GMT 05:32 UK
Superdome reopens in New Orleans
Superdome fans at reopening ceremony
Monday's ceremony was attended by a sell-out crowd.
The stadium that symbolised New Orleans' suffering during Hurricane Katrina last year has re-opened.

More than 30,000 people took refuge at the Louisiana Superdome after the storm struck. They lived in squalor for four days until they were evacuated.

But a major refurbishment programme has allowed the venue to host Monday's sell-out game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.

Rock bands, including U2 and Green Day, performed in a star-studded ceremony.

The Superdome was wrecked by Hurricane Katrina last August, its roof peeled off by the wind.

However, the BBC's James Westhead in New Orleans says it was the images of chaos inside, with people stranded for days with no water or food, that made it a symbol of New Orleans' misery.

This is exactly what the city needs
Clara Donate
Saints season ticket holder

Many thought that afterwards, the building would be condemned. But instead, $180m was spent on a huge renovation effort.

Although some question spending so much on a sports stadium, the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, described it as a vital symbol of recovery for the city and the state.

"This is exactly what the city needs," Saints season ticket holder Clara Donate - who lost her home and all her possessions to Katrina - told AP news agency before the game.

"We all need something else to think about."

New Orleans went on to crush Atlanta 23-3.

The Saints last played in the Superdome in a 2005 pre-season game, a few days before Katrina.

The team were forced to move their home games to other venues last season - including Louisiana State University and Giants Stadium in New York.




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Rock band U2 help reopen New Orleans Superdome



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