Published: August 19, 2009 at 11:30 AMI do think that there is potential in New Orleans for a mid sized amusement park. Jazzland was only a couple of years old when it was purchased by Six Flags..who at the time was just beginning it's financial tailspin. Given a little time and proper management and marketing, I think Jazzland could have been just fine. Katrina did a number on this park, but it was Six Flags' inability or unwillingness to rebuild that really killed it.
As far as Nickelodeon goes, the question is why are they severing ties with Cedar Fair? If Cedar Fair is severing the ties, than Cedar Fair is nuts....unless they have someone like Nintendo on deck (please). If Nickelodeon is severing ties to open this place, than Nick is nuts. They will lose the market share they have already, and potential to move in to the other Cedar Fair parks.
165 million dollars for a real theme park is not enough. While there are some attractions to restore and work with, this isn't enough money to build an experience that would draw crowds from hundreds of miles. New Orleans is a regional market, and the only way it becomes national is if big time theme park money is poured into the project. If Nick can stay with Cedar Fair and move into the parks that weren't Paramount, it puts them in places like Knott's and
Cedar Point, and moves them into the other smaller markets. Those smaller markets don't seem like much, but they are A) already established parks, and B) probably just as big or bigger than the New Orleans market would be.
If I'm Nickelodeon, I'm looking for a way to stick with a major player in the industry. Although Cedar Fair isn't the authority on themed rides, they have a national presence. Nickelodeon's best scenario...get involved with a company that would use them in a proper themed way and also has the market. Disney out, Universal out, Cedar Fair...likely out too. Solution...find out who is buying the Busch parks and give them a call.
Published: August 19, 2009 at 12:20 PMI know Katrina did a lot of damage to the area, but if you look at the aerial shots on bing.com's maps and click on bird's eye view (use the coordinates Robert provided: +30° 3' 8.37", -89° 56' 4.47"), it actually looks pretty good for a park that's been vacant for so long. I'd love to hear from any park engineers among TPI readers as to whether anything indeed might be salvageable. I know you can't inspect a ride from a photo, but I still want to hear from someone with an engineering perspective.
Published: August 19, 2009 at 12:35 PMDerek, I'm assuming that if Nick is out of Cedar Fairs, it will all be covered up by Snoopy stuff, as it all is in CP already... So it's not really something CF is losing, if Nick is the one pulling out. Really, that is probably the ONLY themed area in CP as it is! :)
Published: August 19, 2009 at 12:36 PMI think that Paramount/Viacom/Nickelodeon was STUPID for selling their parks in the first place!
Published: August 19, 2009 at 2:53 PMFor a little more than $165 you could buy another site, build a Schlitterbaun level water park and lease a parcel of the property to a resort hotel operator. And water park attractions are pretty much turnkey construction.
Published: August 19, 2009 at 4:29 PMI love the idea because I live in the area BUT Nick better have good lawyers because the land is sinking and the politics are BAD.
Published: August 20, 2009 at 7:01 PMRobert Niles, you are a freaking jerk. As a Nickelodeon fan, I was excited as heck to find out that they're getting such a big stand alone theme park, but you had to point out flaws not even two days after the news came in. You media scumbags are all the same: Taking perfectly great news and ripping it to sheads. I know it's your opinion and you have a right to it, but frankly, I still hate it. As soon as this Nickelodeon park opens, I'm heading over there and have a good time just so I can tick you off and prove you wrong, along with all of you sick news story writing pinheads who feed off the joy of making people feel horrible through news. All of you need to wake up and get a life, because you disgust me.
Stand up for Nick until the end,
Taylor Lee Ledbetter
Published: August 23, 2009 at 8:11 PMBelieve it or not, New Orleans used to have a piece of the aerospace business. I lived in the immediate area of the theme park when the homes there were brand-new and many of the residents were aerospace-related workers. It was considered quite a nice subdivision at the time. So, I would like to see the area pick up.
The thing is that over time, the neighborhood evolved from being a solid-white neighborhood to being solid black. People in that neck of the woods don't tolerate mixed neighborhoods very well. Thus, white suburbanites have to travel into an all-black neighborhood to visit the theme park; and any theme park needs the business of this demographic group to survive. And, white suburbanites don't feel particularly safe there, especially if they're leaving the theme park after dark.
So, if you were to ask me, that's why Jazzland and Six Flags didn't do well in that particular spot. As I mentioned, I would like to see a theme park do well in this location, but I don't see how any park is going to attract enough locals to keep it going. I don't think that enough tourists from less racially-biased parts of the country are going to pour in to make up the gap.
Let's hope I'm wrong. It would be nice if Nick succeeds and the park makes a go of it.