Everyone likes photos of abandoned amusement parks. Maybe not so much abandoned hospitals, churches, factories and such, but show someone a photo of a dilapidated roller-coaster or a giant plaster clown head hanging upside down in a defunct shooting range, and they’re all, “whaaaaaa?” and then totally bug out. That’s because almost everyone has experienced an amusement park, either in real life or on TV, anywhere from a county fair to Disneyland. Whether recalling the befuddlement of Space Mountain or barfing up a plateful of piggy wiggly fries, we’ve all got some kind of memory associated with amusement parks, and to see them abandoned and in ruins is an existential punch in the heart.
Right now you’re assuming I’m about to show you some of the aforementioned photos, but before you get your hopes up, allow me to dash them. This post is disappointingly short and has only a few inadequate photos of the least interesting parts of the park. Unfortunately, my excursion into the abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans was cut short by the long arm of the law. (Yarf, I’d never say that phrase for reals except for the time when I just did.) I clearly stated my opinion of cops in the Q&A section, which you might want to check out before you use this as an opportunity to tell me some “craaazy story” about getting busted that I can’t even pretend to give two fucks about. But before I get into all that, here’s a brief history of Six Flags New Orleans, otherwise known as SFNO, an acronym I will not be using because it looks dumb.
Six Flags New Orleans is located in the infamous Ninth Ward in the eastern part of the city. Before it was turned into a Six Flags, the park operated as the ill-fated Jazzland, which, according to the internet, closed on account of being crappy. Jazzland was only open for two years before Six Flags took over in 2003.
The Ninth Ward is the subject of many stories, songs, books, etc, and is the backdrop for numerous films, as will come into play later. Unfortunately, the ward gained the most notoriety as the area hit the hardest by Hurricane Katrina. Bordered by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, the lower Ninth Ward was catastrophically flooded as a result of the storm surge. One month later, the ward was flooded again by Hurricane Rita, because God’s a dick.
In anticipation of Hurricane Katrina, Six Flags closed in late August of 2005. When the storm hit on the 29th, Lake Pontchartrain, accompanied by copious rainfall, flooded the park with four to seven feet of water. The edges of the park were outfitted with a six foot flood berm to prevent flooding, which, once breached, trapped the floodwaters inside. The drainage system failed and the park became a soupy basin that wasn’t drained for over a month.
It was not necessarily the storm itself that did the most damage to Six Flags, but rather the month it spent stewing in the brackish lake water. In the perfect example of irony, the flood berm, erected to protect the park, was the cause of its destruction. Salt irreparably corroded the metal rides and the cost of repair was unjustifiable for the Six Flags Corporation since the New Orleans park was one of their least profitable.
Six Flags New Orleans remains closed to this day and is a popular destination for idiots like me who like to poke around abandoned places. I was gonna tell you guys my story about getting busted and how I made friends with the security guard, got a tour of an elaborate movie set being built in the park, was given water and snacks and allowed to just stroll on out all lah-tee-dah, but the details of the story reveal too much information and I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, myself included. Also that’s pretty much the whole story. OR IS IT. Naw, it is. BUT MAYBE NOT. Man, I’m bored right now, I’m writing this post on a rainy Saturday afternoon while simultaneously wasting time trying to make a facebook page for this stupid site.
You can see a few more photos (emphasis on few, I got busted only 10 minutes into the trip) on the Six Flags Flickr set.
Disclaimer: If any information on this post is incorrect, if you have more info or would otherwise like to tell me something, feel free to contact me.