After nearly two decades of being abandoned, a Louisiana theme park is finally getting redeveloped.
Six Flags New Orleans began its life as the $130 million Jazzland in 2000 before being acquired by Six Flags in 2002 after the Park went bankrupt. Six Flags invested $20 million into the Park, which included several brand-new attractions and themed areas. Guests could explore New Orleans-themed lands like Cajun Country and Pontchartrain Beach or more quintessential Six Flags areas like DC Comics Super Hero Adventures or Looney Tunes Adventures. The Park was also home to several coasters like The Jester, Mega Zeph, and Batman: The Ride (before it was relocated to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and renamed Goliath).
However, tragedy struck the Park and the city of New Orleans in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Southeast Louisiana. The devastating storm left 80% of the city flooded and resulted in 1,464 deaths and over $100 billion in damages. Still today, it is the fourth-most intense hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States. Six Flags New Orleans was located next to Lake Pontchartrain, which quickly overflowed and flooded the Park for the duration of the storm. The Park was left in six feet of water for nearly a month.
Six Flags initially reported that around 80% of the attractions were destroyed by long-term saltwater immersion and damaged beyond repair. Batman: The Ride was the only attraction to remain relatively unscathed. The Park was essentially abandoned after several maintenance attempts by Six Flags and became a target for both urban explorers and vandals for years to come.
Several proposals have been made for the redevelopment of the land, including several additional theme parks, an outlet mall, and fairgrounds. However, all of them have fallen through, usually due to the absolutely massive undertaking that renovating the land would be. It also became a popular film set for movies like Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) and Jurassic World (2015).
This week, New Orleans has made a deal with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and the Bayou Phoenix development group to reimagine the abandoned Park. Bayou Phoenix was selected as the master developer back in 2021 and has proposed that the site could be divided up into several different projects, including a sports complex, an E-sports arena, and an indoor waterpark Resort.
Brenda Breaux, NORA‘s executive director, said the company will work with the community and Bayou Phoenix “to deliver services and benefits for the residents of New Orleans East,” as the community still feels the effects of the storm to this day.