Super Bowl 2013: The curse of the Superdome?

There’s no such thing as a curse. Really. (Gerald Herbert / AP)

Theories for the Superdome blackout abound. Blame it on Beyonce. Or the power grid.

Or the restive spirits of displaced cholera victims, cursing New Orleans to eternal grief.

“Welcome to New Orleans, suckahs,” one local posted on a forum Sunday night. “Everybody knows they built the dome on an old cemetery. It’s been considered to be cursed from day one, in spite of all the livers New Orleanians have sacrificed.”

The Superdome was actually built near the cemetery, not on top of it. But that hasn’t stopped rumors of the “Superdome curse” from taking root in local lore — nor has it stopped some from blaming Sunday’s blackout on evil spirits.

According to legend recounted by the Times-Picayune, the Superdome sits near the site of the old Girod Street cemetery — a Protestant burial ground that was closed and deconsecrated in the 1950s. When workers began digging the foundations for the Superdome in 1971, they found caskets and bones not far beneath the surface. And when they hauled off those unclaimed bones, they allegedly upset the spirits — launching the New Orleans Saints down a long path of mediocrity.

Since then, of course, the Saints hired Sean Payton and Drew Brees and won a Super Bowl. But between 1999 and 2004, New Orleanians took the curse so seriously that the team invited a nun and a series of voodoo priestesses to chase the spirits out.

“If [the bones] were disposed of properly, there’s nothing wrong building over a cemetery,” the nun told the Times-Picayune. “But if they left some things there, oh my goodness.”

The utility company that services the Superdome announced this morning that the outage sprang from a run-of-the-mill “abnormality in the system.” And the curse is really “more of a joke than a reality,” the priestess Bloody Mary told the New York Post in 2010.

Still, “abnormality in the system” sounds pretty vague.

“Lesson of #SuperBowl47,” one believer tweeted. “Don’t build a stadium on graves.”

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (



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Cindy Boren · February 4, 2013

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