Gold Mine on Airline, formerly 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. 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.
|Former names||Shrine on Airline (2017–2020) |
Zephyr Field (1997–2016)
|Location||6000 Airline Drive|
Metairie, Louisiana 70003
|Owner||State of Louisiana|
|Field size||Left Field: 330 feet (100 m)|
Center Field: 400 feet (120 m)
Right Field: 330 feet (100 m)
|Broke ground||November 30, 1995|
|Opened||April 11, 1997|
|Construction cost||US$26 million|
($41.9 million in 2020 dollars)
|Architect||Populous (then HOK Sport)|
ARCHITECTS PLUS (2006 Hurricane Katrina Restorations)
|Project manager||The Tobler Company|
|Structural engineer||Kulkarni Consultants|
|General contractor||Joseph Caldarera & Company|
|New Orleans Baby Cakes (AA/PCL) 1997–2019|
New Orleans Storm (USISL) 1998–1999
Tulane Green Wave (NCAA) 2006–2007
New Orleans Gold (MLR) 2020–present
Minor league baseball left New Orleans at the end of the 2019 season, when the Baby Cakes relocated to Wichita, Kansas, where they continue as the Wichita Wind Surge. Initially, the city of New Orleans hoped to bring a Double-A Southern League team to the city and continue operations as the Baby Cakes. However, due to Major League Baseball's reorganization of Minor League Baseball, the league ceased operations in 2021 and the campaign ultimately failed.
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.
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.
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.
The Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic college baseball game has been held annually at the Shrine on Airline since 2004. 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. 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. 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.
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.
Then-U.S. President George W. Bush speaking at the Shrine on Airline (then Zephyr Field) in 2001
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- 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
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- Walker, Rod (March 20, 2021). "NOLA Gold eager for return after COVID pandemic cut 2020 rugby season short". The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
NOLA Gold will host Old Glory DC at the stadium that used to be called the Shrine on Airline. They are now referring to it as the Gold Mine on Airline.
- Mackel, Travers (August 30, 2019). "When Baby Cakes leave, what happens to "Shrine On Airline?"". WDSU. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
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- "Triple-A team moving in 2020 wants name to be about the new, vibrant Wichita". The Wichita Eagle. December 5, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
- "It's official: Wichita confirms Baby Cakes filed for request to relocate". WDSU. September 6, 2018. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- Reichard, Kevin (February 12, 2021). "Minor League Baseball Overhaul Unveiled". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved February 13, 2021.
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- "Triple-A All-Star Game Results (1998–2002)". Triple-A Baseball. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
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- "Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic is poignant LSU tradition". lsureveille.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- "Wally Pontiff, Jr". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- 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.
- "1998 Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup". Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup. 1998. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Merzbach, Brian (2008). "Zephyr Field". Ballpark Reviews. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gold Mine on Airline.|
|Events and tenants|
|Preceded by|| Home of the
New Orleans Baby Cakes
1997 – 2019
|Preceded by|| Home of the
New Orleans Gold
2020 – present