Shrine on Airline

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Shrine on Airline
Zephyr Field
Former namesZephyr Field (1997–2016)
Location6000 Airline Drive
Metairie, Louisiana 70003
Coordinates29°58′31.59″N 90°11′59.07″W / 29.9754417°N 90.1997417°W / 29.9754417; -90.1997417Coordinates: 29°58′31.59″N 90°11′59.07″W / 29.9754417°N 90.1997417°W / 29.9754417; -90.1997417
OwnerState of Louisiana
Capacity10,000
Field sizeLeft Field: 330 feet (100 m)
Center Field: 400 feet (120 m)
Right Field: 330 feet (100 m)
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke groundNovember 30, 1995[1]
OpenedApril 11, 1997
Construction costUS$26 million
($41.4 million in 2019 dollars[2])
ArchitectPopulous (then HOK Sport)
Perez Apc
ARCHITECTS PLUS (2006 Hurricane Katrina Restorations)
Project managerThe Tobler Company[3]
Structural engineerKulkarni Consultants[4]
General contractorJoseph Caldarera & Company[5]
Tenants
New Orleans Gold (MLR) 2020–present
New Orleans Baby Cakes (AA/PCL) 1997–2019
New Orleans Storm (USISL) 1998–1999
Tulane Green Wave (NCAA) 2006–2007
Zephyr Field X.PNG

Shrine on Airline is a 10,000-seat stadium in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. It is home field for the New Orleans Gold team in Major League Rugby.[6] Known as Zephyr Field when built in 1997 as the home ballpark for the New Orleans Zephyrs (later New Orleans Baby Cakes), the stadium was renamed when the Minor League Baseball team's nickname changed from Zephyrs to Baby Cakes in 2017. Shrine on Airline had been an unofficial name for Zephyr Field used by the public address announcer since the stadium opened and it became the new name.[7]

The facility hosted the 1998 and 2001 Conference USA Baseball Tournaments and the 1999 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament. Shrine on Airline was also the site of the Class 5A Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) baseball tournament in 2004 and 2005.

History[edit]

Zephyr Field hosted its first regular season baseball game on April 11, 1997, in which tenants New Orleans Zephyrs (later the New Orleans Baby Cakes), defeated the Oklahoma City 89ers 8-3.

The stadium also hosted select games of the Tulane University Green Wave baseball program. The team plays annual games at the ballpark against cross-town rival, the University of New Orleans Privateers, and arch-rival, Louisiana State University Tigers, at the ballpark. During the 2006 and 2007 baseball seasons, Zephyr Field was the primary home of the Green Wave, as Tulane's on-campus facility, Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, was undergoing renovations. The renovations were scheduled to be completed in time for the 2006 season, but Hurricane Katrina significantly damaged Turchin Stadium, forcing a delay in the project. In the hurricane's aftermath, Zephyr Field was utilized by the Louisiana Army National Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a rescue facility. In 2006, the state of Louisiana approved $21 million to recover Zephyr Field from the effects of Katrina. Additional funds from the bill covered recovery costs for the New Orleans Saints' training facility, located behind the ballpark, and the New Orleans Arena.[8]

The stadium hosted the 1999 Triple-A All-Star Game in which the Pacific Coast League All-Stars defeated the International League All-Stars, 9–5. New Orleans' Daryle Ward was selected as the PCL MVP.[9]

On July 3, 2003, the largest crowd in Shrine on Airline history for a Zephyrs game, 11,925, watches the Zephyrs lose 1-0 to the Nashville Sounds.[10]

The Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic college baseball game has been held annually at the Shrine on Airline since 2004.[11] The LSU Tigers baseball team plays an opponent in the game to honor the former Metairie resident, LSU Baseball player and Oakland A's draftee, Wally Pontiff Jr., who died at the age of 21 from a genetic heart disorder.[12] In 2004, LSU won the first game of the series vs. Southeastern Louisiana, 9-3. The most recent Classic, which played in April of 2019, saw the Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana defeat LSU 6-5.

The ballpark is featured in several scenes in the 2004 movie Mr. 3000, and one from the 2006 movie called Failure to Launch. Also, part of an episode of Spike TV's Pros vs Joes was also filmed at the ballpark.

A new playing surface was installed prior to the 2008 season. Its new dimensions are 330 feet (100 m) from home plate to left and right fields, and 400 feet (120 m) to center.[13] The ballpark traditionally has allowed some of the fewest home runs in the Pacific Coast League. The ballpark's grass berm seating area, "the Levee", is located beyond center field and is the highest point in Metairie.

As a soccer venue, Shrine on Airline served as home of the New Orleans Storm soccer team in the late 1990s and hosted the semifinals of the 1998 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.[14]

Ballpark attractions[edit]

Concessions at Shrine on Airline feature traditional ballpark fare as well as several regional offerings, such as fried catfish, muffulettas, po' boy sandwiches, jambalaya, and pigskin nachos.

The New Orleans Zephyrs added an extra $5 million to the 2006 state-funded recovery bill for additional amenities, including 16 luxury suites, a swimming pool, two hot tubs, the Coors Light Party Shack, and the Metairie Bank Home Run Porch.[15]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Work Begins on Ballpark in New Orleans; Site Preparations for Arena Near Superdome Under Way". The Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. December 1, 1995. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "Clients". The Tobler Company. Archived from the original on December 9, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  4. ^ "New Orleans Zepyhrs Baseball Stadium". Kulkarni Consultants. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  5. ^ "Commercial Construction". Joseph Caldarera & Company. Archived from the original on August 19, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  6. ^ Mackel, Travers (August 30, 2019). "When Baby Cakes leave, what happens to "Shrine On Airline?"". WDSU. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  7. ^ East, Les (September 2, 2019). "Minor league baseball is gone, but won't be forgotten in Jefferson Parish". Crescent City Sports. Archived from the original on January 30, 2020.
  8. ^ "About Zephyr Field". Minor League Baseball. January 23, 2007. Archived from the original on March 5, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  9. ^ "Triple-A All-Star Game Results (1998–2002)". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  10. ^ "New Orleans Zephyrs History" (PDF). Minor League Baseball. January 30, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  11. ^ "Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic is poignant LSU tradition". lsureveille.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "Wally Pontiff, Jr". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  13. ^ Gladow, David (February 25, 2008). "New Turf to Be Installed at Zephyr Field This Week". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "1998 Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup". Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup. 1998. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  15. ^ Merzbach, Brian (2008). "Zephyr Field". Ballpark Reviews. Retrieved February 20, 2014.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Privateer Park
Home of the
New Orleans Baby Cakes

1997 – 2019
Succeeded by
Riverfront Stadium
(as Wichita Wind Surge)
Preceded by
Joe Zimmerman Stadium
Home of the
New Orleans Gold

2020 – present
Succeeded by
current