Superdome Services, Inc.: Tracing the Convergence Between Black Enterprise and Neoliberalism in a Post-Civil Rights Era New Orleans, 1974-1977
Swarthmore College. Dept. of History
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Utilizing records drawn from New Orleans’ Times Picayune and Louisiana Weekly newspapers, this research paper will attempt to explore early manifestations of neoliberalism during the 1970s Superdome controversy. In 1974 a predominantly-Black firm, Superdome Services, Inc. (SSI) was awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to manage the new Superdome, making them the largest Black-owned public contractor in the country. Within 3 years, political and media campaigns emphasizing on the company and its leaders’ alleged incompetence, theft, and criminality led to the cancellation of their contract and privatization of Superdome management. This paper will attempt to relate the press coverage of this era to early developments in neoliberalism its relation to racial politics, demonstrating how neoliberal rhetoric and ideology successfully infiltrated public figures across the political divide.