Terminal Update: Six Flags Park to Stay Closed Forever, All Future Reopening Plans Canceled

in Theme Parks

The entrance to Six Flags New Orleans shows a sign stating "Closed for Storm". The park entrance is empty with the main entrance gate and flags visible in the background, set against a blue sky. Orange safety barriers and a small vehicle are also visible.

Credit: Inside the Magic

We have an update on the permanently closed Six Flags location in New Orleans after years of decay and abandonment.

Joker's Jukebox attraction at Six Flags New Orleans abandoned theme park
Credit: Matthew Christopher Photography / Abandoned America

Hurricane Katrina’s impact on New Orleans was profound, and Six Flags New Orleans was no exception. The once vibrant theme park was left in ruins, its interior completely destroyed by floodwaters. Faced with a staggering $32 million repair bill and grappling with financial struggles, Six Flags made the difficult decision to abandon the park.

Since 2005, the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans has stood as a stark reminder of the devastation. Urban explorers occasionally venture onto the property, capturing images of desolate buildings eerily mirroring the wreckage of the Titanic. Rusted ride vehicles remain frozen in time, a poignant symbol of the park’s abrupt closure. This site serves as a heartbreaking reminder for many who cherished the park in its former glory.

A once-vibrant concession stand is marred by dark satanic graffiti scrawled across its faded blue facade. Time and neglect have taken their toll, with overgrown vegetation partially obscuring the Zydeco Zinger Swings.

This once-delightful pink carousel, adorned with decorative panels depicting brass musicians, now stands partially hidden under a blanket of creeping flora. Further complicating the redevelopment process, essential drainage pumps, initially intended to facilitate engineering and consulting work, have been stripped of their motors, rendering them inoperable.

An abandoned attraction at Six Flags New Orleans
Credit: Insider, X

Bright Sun Films’ documentary Closed for Storm illuminates this chapter by delving into the previously untold story of Six Flags New Orleans. The documentary explores the park’s current state of disrepair and sheds light on its proposed revival plans.

One proposal envisioned a return to the park’s original name, Jazzland, before its Six Flags acquisition. Bankruptcy had forced Jazzland’s closure in 2002, paving the way for Six Flags’ takeover. The envisioned Jazzland revival aimed to be much more than just a theme park. Plans included a resort, a water park, a downtown area, and a focus on attracting tourists to the often-neglected eastern side of New Orleans.

Drawing inspiration from Disney’s successful Downtown Disney concept, the proposal aimed to create a vibrant, New Orleans-themed street experience. However, this ambitious project, with its proposed 15-year construction timeline, ultimately failed to gain city approval.

Fast forward to 2021, and a new chapter began with the emergence of Bayou Phoenix, a redevelopment group dedicated to breathing new life into the abandoned site. After two years of planning, Bayou Phoenix unveiled their vision in 2023.

Bayou Phoenix’s ambitious plan proposes a complete transformation of the land. The envisioned project includes a massive resort complex offering a multitude of activities. A first-of-its-kind indoor and outdoor water park with never-before-seen attractions anchors the concept. Complementing this will be two hotels and a retail district featuring diverse stores, restaurants, and unique experiences.

The project promises significant economic benefits for the area, attracting tourists and creating high-paying jobs. Furthermore, Bayou Phoenix aims to integrate with the community by incorporating a Family Entertainment Center and indoor/outdoor sports facilities, catering to local sports teams.

While the fate of Six Flags New Orleans remains uncertain, Bayou Phoenix’s vision offers a beacon of hope. Whether this or another plan comes to fruition, the future of this once-abandoned space may hold a vibrant and dynamic destination for New Orleans and its visitors.

Nola.com recently shared that, “New Orleans businessman Troy Henry stood inside the debris-filled theater on a recent evening, navigating around overturned chairs, busted wooden pallets and yellow caution tape.”

Henry believes the building is one of the few salvageable structures on the 227-acre site, where two decades of decay, rust, and wildlife have condemned the iconic Mega Zeph roller coaster and nearly everything else to a fate involving the wrecking ball or other demolition methods yet to be determined.

“You can imagine it being redone, used as a venue,” Henry said.

An abandoned attraction at Six Flags New Orleans
Credit: Insider, x

After a three-year battle to secure the lease, Bayou Phoenix, led by developer Henry, is finally poised to begin the ambitious transformation of the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans site. The project, envisioned as a family-friendly recreational and entertainment destination, aims to revitalize the neglected area and serve as a source of pride for the city.

A recent site visit revealed initial progress. Brush clearing and animal control efforts have been underway, while previously inaccessible roads have been reopened. Henry has also assembled a key team, with his college friend Vincent Williams taking on the role of project manager.

Major demolition is expected to begin by late summer, coinciding with the announcement of key tenants and operators for the development. These secured partnerships will be crucial in finalizing financing packages. However, Bayou Phoenix continues to face skepticism regarding the project’s feasibility, with its estimated $1 billion price tag raising concerns.

Bayou Phoenix
Credit: Bayou Phoenix

For New Orleans East residents, the abandoned Six Flags site has served as a constant reminder of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Now, 20 years later, the prospect of demolition and redevelopment signifies a long-awaited opportunity for change.

However, the process won’t be simple. With over 90 buildings and rides slated for demolition, initial bids range significantly, reflecting uncertainties regarding the condition of the infrastructure. A thorough assessment is needed before a definitive plan can be established.

While challenges lie ahead, Bayou Phoenix’s commitment to transforming this once-desolate space into a vibrant destination for families and the community brings a renewed sense of hope. As the project unfolds, announcements regarding demolition progress, tenant partnerships, and financing details will be closely watched by residents and stakeholders eager to see the vision become reality.

“There are still unknowns that we have to solve for. But we’re confident that they’re solvable,” Henry said. “I’m a man of faith.”

So, it appears that Bayou Phoenix is officially open, and Six Flags New Orleans has received its final update.

Are you excited to see the wreck of Six Flags New Orleans transform into Bayou Phoenix?

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