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A photo tour of the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans

Written by
Published: March 28, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Theme Park Insider reader Ryan Traylor emailed some photos he took recently of the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans park, which closed after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, then never reopened.

Six Flags New Orleans

Ryan shared some thoughts, via email:

"The first thing that struck me is how much the coasters and larger rides are still standing. Clearly the damage is from the flooding. And then the looting.

"Being in the park alone is awesome, even though the rides are not operational. Then the abandonment sets in. You hear the wind howling through the park. Broken gates creaking. Leaves rustling across spilled papers and plastic utensils. It's literally a ghost town. They closed the park in preparation for the storm and never returned."

Tickets

Turnstiles

Kiosk

"And the park being accessible is not a big secret. We ran into three other people while wandering around the park.

"It is definitely a park I want to visit again and spend a few more hours in."

Tagged
Tag, you're it, Mr. Six. Welcome to Zombieland.

The Jester
There's no queue for The Jester, but quite the wait.

Bumper cars
Anyone up for a ride on the bumper cars?

Inverter train
Ironically, this abandoned coaster train ride vehicle is not upside down.

Flume ride
How about a ride on the flume to cool off?

Guest relations
Don't forget to leave a comment at Guest Relations on your way out of the park. Just have a seat and wait for the next representative.

Readers' Opinions

From 151.151.16.11 on March 28, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Very cool to see and thanks for sharing. I wonder why, when they decided not to re-open, why they didn't extract some of the ride components. Surely there was value in the ride tracks, cars, etc. even if they needed refurbishing and they have other parks they could potentially have used them in or sold them to smaller parks. Seems like such waste of those resources.
From 86.28.202.167 on March 28, 2011 at 11:54 AM
love the pics, something kinda sad about seeing an abandoned theme park, such a shame to see such great coasters falling into disrepair .
it seems kind of strange that they all left just before the hurricane and never went back, there's a movie to be made at some point
From Robert Niles on March 28, 2011 at 1:39 PM
(Edited to defer to a better explanation below.)
From Carrie Hood on March 28, 2011 at 12:08 PM
The biggest problem is rather then starting a quick clean up they just allowed things to fester. The water damage alone was bad but without them coming in to quickly re-claim the park the mold/mildew and rust alone now has probably made nearly everything worthless. I know that there have been various pieces in the paper about the City and State trying to force Six Flags to do the clean up which was part of their contract but it's very doubtful if anything will ever happen in that regard.

Abandoned places in general have always been fascinating for me and I'd like to see SFNO one of these days if I'm ever down that way.

Great Pictures!

From Brian Emery on March 28, 2011 at 12:36 PM
I am truly amazed folks can get in there so easily…If someone gets hurt, sues them and their insurance company..Yikes..

Thanks for posting them Bobby..

From 97.78.104.239 on March 28, 2011 at 12:43 PM
Interesting. I remember passing by this when I went to help my son move out of New Orleans and out of Katrina's wake. Yes, always sad to see such a park in this way, and yet I, too am rather fascinated by these empty/often historic parks. I didn't know it never re-opened.
From 72.204.135.201 on March 28, 2011 at 12:57 PM
From NOLA and basically they had a contract with the city, which owned the land, and 6Flags was not doing well enough financially to pay to break the contract thus they couldn't touch the rides. Likely got a court order not to move anything out of the property. Took years for 6Flags, likely there insurer, to reach a settlement with the city. Now that is over, they briefly entertained other parks coming in, but it is ridiculous. Had a pass every year they were opened, and it was a very nice new park. But they never could draw a crowd out of the area, and locals didn't go for sure. It never made a profit. Why would anyone reinvest in a market that has proven it won't work and risk a repeat of Katrina. It was a great asset to the city before though, for those whom enjoyed the annual passes. We would go at least a dozen times a year for a $50. pass. Great times. The rides themselves, may be 2 years after, were checked and determined that most needed to be rewired but the rides were good. Some were totalled. Heard some valuable equipment/rides did leave before the city put a stop to it.
From 184.43.34.163 on March 28, 2011 at 1:21 PM
This saddens me. I love amusement parks and have found great interest in reserching closed parks and what they leave behind. I'm sure the many people in the New Orleans miss this amusement park and it seems that someone could come in clean up and re-build. Thanks for the pictures I wished I was close enough to tour the park myself.
From Colton McLaughlin on March 28, 2011 at 2:32 PM
If I ever go to New Orleans, I'm going here. It's always been a dream of mine to go gallivanting in an abandoned amusement park and this would be the perfect place. Literally a dream come true. It saddens me that this happened, but I'm also enthralled by it. I must be crazy...
From Anon Mouse on March 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM
It's very sad indeed. I don't understand the contractual agreement with the city where equipment cannot be removed. It is worthless if not removed. At minimum, the city should allow the removal so they can be sold. Perhaps the city has better ideas, but it might be time to return the park back to nature.
From Tony Stevens on March 28, 2011 at 4:43 PM
Very eerie. I hope this is not the fate of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. It is looking at a second year of being shut down since it was closed and even though it is supposed to reopen in 2012 I am beginning to wonder.
From 98.199.53.21 on March 28, 2011 at 6:19 PM
from what i had heard, there was also some issue with the ownership rights to the equipment, i.e. Six Flags did remove a ride or two and some parts of rides, but the city of New Orleans claimed IT owned the rides and so made Six Flags stop. i have heard there are new developers interested in opening the park again though.....
From 99.118.245.158 on March 28, 2011 at 6:22 PM
I always find that I get such a creepy feeling when I see photos of abandoned parks. To me it is what I imagine viewing a dead body would be like. Something that was once full of life and joy now is left a shell without a soul. Very eerie and sad to witness especially for any theme park fan.
From Mark Fairleigh on March 28, 2011 at 6:25 PM
I really love these abandoned ghost park reports, but boy they always creep me out! :)
From Terri Pierce on March 28, 2011 at 6:32 PM
That's so eerie! I've never seen a "real" abandoned theme park. The zombieland poster made me lol. If I am ever in the area I will def stop here. Sometimes I wonder if our local park (Wild Adventures) will close and become what it was in the movie zombieland. It surely is sad already.
From Terry R on March 28, 2011 at 6:54 PM
I agree with the previous posters that I find abandoned amusement parks fascinating yet very sad at the same time. I sometimes get emotional whenever I pass by a park in San Jose, California where Frontier Village used to stand.
I hope Six Flags can one day buy back the property and perhaps sometime in the future reopen it again. Ah well, we can dream!
From chris cona on March 28, 2011 at 7:12 PM
Thats really sad how the park is. Some rich company should clear it out and make a fresh new park. If i had the money i would totally do it but sadly i dont.
From 74.129.137.83 on March 28, 2011 at 10:06 PM
We currently have an abandoned Six Flags theme park in Louisville, KY, but no natural disaster to blame it on. The owners prior to Six Flags say they plan to reopen it, but we will see. There was a dispute over ownership of the land and attractions. We also have a really old abandoned theme park called Rose Island Amusement Park that closed due to the 1937 flood. The former park is currently completely wooded and only accessible by boat. What is left of it truly looks like ancient relics.
From Carrie Hood on March 29, 2011 at 4:01 AM
Yeah it's a very confusing deal they had with the city when six flags moved in and took over the old Jazzland park.
I think when Six Flags removed rides from SFNO it was the newest additions they had put in, I somehow doubt they would have allowed the city to have rights to those. Again, the problem is the longer things sit there rotting and baking in the sun the harder and more expensive it will be to fix or reopen them. At this point I'd have to say the City is better to cut their losses and sell things for scrap.

Heh, we won't talk about how I know these things... but technically if anyone cared about people getting into the park you'd be fined with trespassing. If you got fined and hurt in the same trip there isn't an insurance company or judge alive who would accept your plea. After which they'd either try to secure the park with rental security (who is easy to get past anyway) or it'd be bulldozed even quicker. Generally when exploring you don't get hurt unless your being completely stupid.

There is a lot of documentation threw the urban explorer groups who've seen and explored old and abandoned amusement parks. Just do a few google searches and you'll stumble upon them. *Coughgooglesnbocough*

From David Sutter on March 29, 2011 at 4:36 AM
Great photos Ryan. Thank you. ive been following this story for a few years now. And heres the deal.
The park openned in 2000 as "Jazzland" and was operated by Alfa Smartpark, Which was a group of New Orleans bussiness man. The land was leased from the city of New Orleans and was built with city Bonds and urban development money. Thus giving the city ownership of the park and the equpment.
Alfa Smartpark sold the lease to Six Flags in 2002 they changed the name to Six Flags New Orleans. But they never owned the park out right they were only a managment company. Thus having no claims to the rides and attractions of the former Jazzland. These belonged to the city and were leased to them.
After Katurina hit. the park sat under 10 feet of water. once it recessed and a walk thru was completed Six Flags was waitting for the insurance company to make good on the need cash to repair it. Well as we all know they just about tanked as a company about the same time frame.
And over time almost like theves in the night roller coaster trains and rides started to disapear from the park. ANd some found there way to other Six Flags parks.
So the city legal eagles put a stop to that . But as we know wheels of law move slowly. And after 3 years a stop order was given to them. And we have what we have today.
It was a long battle because it appeaars that lease was for 99 yrs. And Six Flags wanted out but for cheap money. Now Im no lawyer but, for what it cost SF they got away cheep. Its my belief that they sould ahve been responcable to restore it to some level of operational state before being allowed outta that lease or set up a restoration fund to help anyone with a interest in reopenning the park.
But instead we have what sits today on Interstate 10 as you approch New Orleans.
From Andy Milio on March 29, 2011 at 6:12 AM
I'm sorry, but I lol'ed at Zombieland. I love that movie. But anyways, that was very interesting; to see an abandoned theme park was neat, yet sad.
From 70.174.89.7 on March 29, 2011 at 12:39 PM
While these pics are creepy, there was a YouTube video posted a while back that is even more creepy. Check it out everyone - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bcja8UBtXdk
From Mike Gallagher on March 29, 2011 at 1:38 PM
Three things:

1. The photo with the caption referring to it as a "coaster train" is not a coaster. Inverter is a rotating flat ride that goes upside down..various names at various parks.

2. Zombieland is an absolute classic of its genre, and I, too, got a chuckle out of that picture of the vandalized sign.

3. I thought the saddest pic was of the season passes simply scattered to the four winds, although I'm not sure why the passes were in the park and not in their owners' possession if the park closed in advance of the arrival of Katrina.

Well shot and written photo essay.

From Robert Niles on March 29, 2011 at 2:59 PM
Inverter caption fixed. Thanks.
From Jose Vazquez on March 29, 2011 at 6:15 PM
Whoa how surreal to just wander through such a huge park thats a complete ghost town. Must be kind of eerie and surreal walking through that during the day...and who knows what lurks there at night. Hmm..good premise if they ever wanted to do a paid "haunted" tour of the abandoned park for Halloween. Great photos and story, really shows how popular park establishments can instantly fade in economic strife.
From 76.172.211.23 on March 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM
It's interesting how This Six Flags is not operational, I wish i could own this Six Flags!
From 63.98.184.253 on March 30, 2011 at 9:07 AM
I worked there several seasons and it is sad that it was not re-opened.
From 174.107.187.21 on March 30, 2011 at 9:10 PM
What's amazing is that there's an abandoned water park right on Disney World property. Look up River Country on youtube...very creepy...you can hear music still playing in the park.
From 98.125.233.112 on April 1, 2011 at 8:59 AM
Dan Snyder was here.
From 66.161.59.254 on April 1, 2011 at 12:34 PM
The way Six Flags really got out of the dispute was through their bankruptcy filing. That's how they got out of Kentucky Kingdom too.
From 206.221.213.14 on April 1, 2011 at 4:20 PM
The annual passes scattered on the ground must have been from a batch of bad cards; "VOID" is written on the closest three.

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