Located in the Big
Easy, the New Orleans Hornets returned to the New Orleans Arena
permanently this season for the first time since the 2004-05 season. For
14 seasons the Hornets played in Charlotte at the Charlotte Coliseum.
Although the Hornets were competitive towards the end of their stay in
Charlotte, attendance at games dwindled and the Charlotte Coliseum
lacked many of the modern amenities found in other NBA arenas. Owner of
the team, George Shinn became discontent with the cityís effort towards
getting a new arena built and therefore moved the Hornets to New Orleans after the
More than 20 years
before the Hornets moved to New Orleans, the city had a NBA team, the
New Orleans Jazz. They played in the
city between 1974 until 1979 before moving to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Throughout the next several decades exhibition basketball games were
played sporadically in New Orleans. In the mid 1990s, the city decided
to build a new arena adjacent to the New Orleans Superdome. Constructed at a
cost of $84 million, the octagonal shaped building was completed in 1999.
The first game played at
the New Orleans Arena was a hockey game on October 29, 1999. NBA basketball
returned to the city permanently when the Hornets moved to New Orleans
and played their first game at the New Orleans Arena October 30, 2002. Although the building was
less than five years old, the city spent $10 million upgrading the New
Orleans Arena for the Hornets. Locker rooms were upgrade, additional luxury
suites were added, and a courtside restaurant and team store were built.
Because of the
devastating events of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the Hornets moved
their basketball operations to Oklahoma City and the Ford Center where they played the
majority of their games for the next two seasons. Several games were held
in New Orleans during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons to show the teamís
commitment to playing in the city. The New Orleans Arena suffered little
structural damage after the hurricane because of its arched reinforced steel
and concrete roof. The Hornets returned to New Orleans permanently for the
2007-08 season and the city hosted the 2008 NBA All-Star Game.