A graduate of Tulane University, Dave Dixon was a major influence on the sport scene of New Orleans, including being the driving force behind the New Orleans Saints and the Louisiana Superdome.
Considered the Father of Professional Football in New Orleans after forming the group which began lobbying for an NFL team in New Orleans in 1962, Dixon and that group reached its goal on November 1, 1966 when the NFL awarded its 16th franchise to the Crescent City.
He followed that monumental achievement by becoming the main impetus for the approval and building of the Louisiana Superdome (now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome).
“I know I’ll always be remembered for the Saints and Superdome,” Mr. Dixon said in 1990, “and I’m proud of that. But I also hope to be remembered as a person who worked for the brotherhood of man in his autumn years. Nothing, I sincerely believe, is more important than that.”
Dixon was also was a key player in the development of professional tennis when he created World Championship Tennis (WCT) in 1967, persuading seven of the world’s 10 best male players to turn pro.
Starting in 1980, he began the drive which led to the announcement of a professional football league that played its games in the spring and summer – the United States Football League (USFL), which played three seasons from 1983-85.
As a tribute to Dixon, the section of Girod Street between the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena is now named Dave Dixon Drive.
“In my entire public life or even private life, so far as that is concerned, I have never known a finer man. Unselfish, generous, honorable, energetic, and working always to improve New Orleans in all categories and phases,” former Louisiana governor John J. McKeithen said.
He received an honorary degree and the Yenni Award for Distinguished Community Service from Loyola University. In 1986, he received the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Dixon was invested as a Knight of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem in 1985, and, in 1989, as a Knight of St. Gregory. Both are papal orders. In 1989, he was awarded the Times-Picayune Loving Cup, an honor presented to New Orleans citizens who have worked unselfishly for the community without expectation of public recognition or reward.
Dixon was born June 4, 1923 and died August 8, 2010 at the age of 87.