Disabled fan says Superdome changes causing more problems than solving

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 7:00 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- Shelby Bailey will be the first to tell you that he loves everything Saints.

“Really the only that I have is going to the games, and I really look forward to the Saints and love them to death.”

For 30 years, he and his family have been season ticket holders. Bailey has multiple sclerosis, but that's never stopped him from missing a game.

“We spend a lot of time and take great care to make sure that he gets to the game and have a good time,” said brother Wade Bailey.

But since recent renovations to the Superdome, he and his family are experiencing more problems with the new handicap accessible seating.

“We have had so many frustrations because it seems like every game something different happens,” Wade Bailey said.

Reconfigured seating in the stadium moved the Baileys seats from the field to the top of the first level.

The family says they can no longer sit together, and Shelby says he can't see the game when fans stand up.

One of the standards is that you are supposed to be able to see even when people stand up, but the biggest concern is safety..

“In a situation of a disaster, fighting that crowd, there is just no way I can get out,” Shelby Bailey said.

Eric Eagan, the spokesperson for the Superdome, said the renovations were mainly to get the Superdome up to ADA standards and address safety concerns.

“The seating reconfiguration actually was able to add 3,100 additional seats on the plaza level, including, as I mentioned, 131 additional ADA seats,” said Eric Eagen, a Superdome spokesperson.

While the Baileys welcome some of the changes, they want their seats to be on the field level like they once were.

“I love the Saints and their whole organization, but I am not just doing this for me. I am looking out for the other disabled people also,” Shelby Bailey said.

Officials with both the Superdome and Saints say they're working closely with the Baileys.

The Saints issued this statement:

"We have been in constant contact with them for the past three seasons whenever they raise accessibility issues. Each time, we have diligently worked to accommodate them to the extent we can. We have offered to move them to an upgraded location at no additional charge.”

The Bailey family says club level seats were offered then rescinded. They've now been moved to the same seats in a different section.

 

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