Six Flags New Orleans
Six Flags New Orleans entrance, 2004
|Location||New Orleans, Louisiana, United States|
|Opened||May 20, 2000|
|Closed||21 August 2005 |
|Previous names||Jazzland (2000-2002)|
Six Flags New Orleans is an amusement park in New Orleans, Louisiana that has been closed since just before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 and is currently owned by the city of New Orleans. The park is located in Eastern New Orleans, in the Ninth Ward of the city off Interstate 510. Despite various announced plans to reopen or reuse the site, as of April 2013 it is still an abandoned amusement park in a semi-ruined state. It is an urban exploration destination, although visitors are subject to arrest for trespass.
Functioning amusement park, 2000-2005 
The park first opened under the name "Jazzland" in 2000, operated by Alfa Smartparks (later Odgen Entertainment and now known as Palace Entertainment but owned by an international company called Parques Reunidos). Rides included the Mega Zeph, a wooden roller coaster track built on a steel frame to prevent termite infestation and withstand hurricane force winds. The Mega Zeph was inspired by the old Zephyr roller coaster at the closed Pontchartrain Beach Amusement Park that was located next to Lake Pontchartrain by the University of New Orleans. The original intent was to rebuild the Zephyr but it was a smaller roller coaster so that idea was scrapped in favor of the current larger Mega Zeph. Other rides included a junior steel coaster called Rex's Rail Runner, a wild mouse steel coaster, and a common steel shuttle looping Vekoma boomerang rollercoaster called a Zydeco Scream (there are well over a dozen of these identical coasters in parks nationwide). The park had a Log Flume and a Splashwater falls ride called Spillway Splashout. In addition, the park had common amusement park spinning rides and a Carousel Merry Go-Round. The park was not profitable, as Alpha Smart Parks specialized in running water parks and smaller amusement arcade centers. In 2001, the lease was put up for sale and in March of 2002, Six Flags purchased the lease. The park was run in 2002 as Jazzland.
In 2003, Six Flags upgraded the park and renamed it Six Flags New Orleans. The park added more shaded areas as well as many new flat spinning rides, and re-branded to Six Flags' "it's playtime" theme that included the dancing old man Mr. Six. They added a used inverted looping B & M coaster that was named Batman: The Ride (though different in design from the rest of the B & M Batman coasters) and another multiple looping coaster called The Jester brought from Six Flags Fiesta Texas. A water park which would be included in the admission (like Six Flags Parks such as Six Flags St. Louis and Six Flags America for example) was in the planning stages and going to be announced at the end of August. But then Hurricane Katrina struck which put those plans along with the continued operations of this park in question. The last day the park operated was August 21, 2005. Weekday operations ended a couple weeks before due to the fact schools start early in August in that region and end mid-May. The park was scheduled to open August 27 and August 28 as usual but once Katrina was forecast late on Friday to directly hit New Orleans, the weekend opening was canceled in order to prepare for the storm and begin evacuations.
Themed areas 
- Main Street Square
- Goodtime Gardens
- Cajun Country
- DC Comics Super Hero Adventures
- Pontchartrain Beach
- Mardi Gras
- Looney Tunes Adventures
Main Street Square 
Goodtime Gardens 
Cajun Country 
- Muskrat Scrambler (L&T Systems Wild Mouse)
- Lafitte's Pirate Ship (Fabbri Pirate Ship)
- Ozarka Splash (Hopkins Rides Log Flume)
- Gator Bait (Huss Airboat)
- SpongeBob SquarePants The Ride (SimEx-Iwerks Motion Simulator)
DC Comics Super Hero Adventures 
- Catwoman's Whip (Mondial Shake)
- Joker's Jukebox (Wieland Schwarzkopf Polyp)
- Lex Luthor's Invertatron (Zamperla Windshear)
Pontchartrain Beach 
Mardi Gras 
- The Jester (Vekoma Hurricane)
- Mega Zeph (Custom Coasters International Double Out and Back Wooden Hybrid)
- Dizzy Lizzy (Fabbri Boomerang)
- Krazy Krewe (Fabbri Cataclysm)
- Mad Rex (Chance-Morgan Wipeout)
- Jocco's Mardi Gras Madness (Sally Corp. Interactive Dark Ride)
- Spillway Splashout (Hopkins Rides Shoot-the-Chutes)
- Skycoaster (Skycoaster Inc. Reverse Freefall Swing)
- Mardi Gras Menagerie (Chance-Morgan Carousel)
Looney Tunes Adventures 
- Pepe Le Pew & The Swings de Paris (childrens swing ride)
- Daffy Duck and the Backlot Tour Bus
- Tazmanian Devil Rumble in the Jungle
- Yosemite Sam and the Wild West Wheel
- Tweety's Treehouse
- Technocolor Tweety Balloons (Zamperla Samba Tower)
Former Rides 
Cajun Country 
- Pirates 4-D - The theater ended this film in 2003 in favor of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride.
DC Comics Super Hero Adventures 
- Batman: The Ride (Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster) - Refurbished and rebuilt at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and renamed Goliath.
Pontchartrain Beach 
- Pontchartrain Flyers (Chance-Morgan Aviator) - Removed for parts.
Looney Tunes Adventures 
- The Road Runner Express (Vekoma Junior Coaster 207M) - Removed by Six Flags and is now at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California and is still called Road Runner Express
Mardi Gras 
- Bayou Blaster (S&S Worldwide Space Shot) - Refurbished and installed as Sasquatch at Great Escape in Lake George, NY
- Sonic Slam (S&S Worldwide Turbo Drop) - Refurbished and installed as Sasquatch at Great Escape in Lake George, NY.
(note: Bayou Blaster and Sonic Slam were both part of the same tandem ride—Bayou Blaster started at the bottom and shot riders to the top, while the Sonic Slam lifted riders to the top slowly, then dropped riders free-fall style to the bottom.)
- King Chaos (Chance-Morgan Chaos) - Removed in earlier 2005 and seen in the boneyard.
- Voodoo Volcano (Chance-Morgan Inverter) - Removed in earlier 2005 and seen in the boneyard.
After Hurricane Katrina 
Eastern New Orleans was badly flooded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (see: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans). The park grounds are located on a low-lying section of Eastern New Orleans, with a 6-foot (1.8 m) earthen flood berm running along the perimeter, creating an artificial basin. After the park's drainage pumps failed during the storm, the berm retained the combination of rainwater and sea water overflow from Lake Pontchartrain caused by Katrina's massive storm surge, submerging the entire park grounds in corrosive, brackish floodwater to a depth of 4–7 feet. The floodwater was not drained for over a month. Due to the damage received, the park was closed indefinitely with no plans to reopen.
Damage reports by Six Flags inspectors stated that the park buildings are 80% demolished, all of the flat rides (except for one which was being serviced off-site at the time of the storm) have been effectively destroyed by long term salt-water immersion, and both the wooden track and steel superstructure of the Mega Zeph have been damaged beyond likely hope of repair. The only large ride to escape relatively unscathed was the Batman: The Ride roller-coaster, due to its elevated station platform and corrosion-resistant support structure.
On July 1, 2006, having previously announced that the park would be closed "at least" through 2007, Six Flags Inc. announced that they had concluded their damage assessments and declared the park to be an "effective total loss"—with no desire or intent by the company to undertake the prohibitive cost of rebuilding—and was in negotiations with the City of New Orleans to make an early exit from the 75-year lease which Six Flags entered into on the property. However, then-Mayor Ray Nagin said he planned to hold Six Flags to the lease agreement and force them to rebuild. If held to the terms of the lease agreement, Six Flags would be legally obligated to rebuild the park on the same site, but only to the extent of the insurance money Six Flags receives. Six Flags determined the value of assets destroyed by the storm at $32.5 million. As of September 2006, Six Flags had collected $11.5 million of insurance proceeds, bringing the insurance receivable balance to $24.4 million. It remains unknown whether the amount of money the park receives will be enough to successfully rebuild it. In January 2007, Six Flags officials revealed to the Times-Picayune that the company is suing its insurers for the remaining amount of $175 million in coverage.
The park had long been one of the least profitable parks in the Six Flags portfolio, being well away from the French Quarter and other tourist attractions. It has been stated that the park would most likely have been more profitable had it been built somewhere on the West Bank or in Metairie, as these places are a shorter distance from tourist districts. Even more so, these locations would have placed the park much closer to affluent population centers where a strong local base of repeat customers could be cultivated, as opposed to the poverty and crime-afflicted Eastern New Orleans district where few residents could afford or were interested in expensive season passes to an amusement park.
On December 15, 2006, Six Flags confirmed that they were removing Batman: The Ride for refurbishment and relocation to a new park, as it was considered to be the only salvageable ride. Batman: The Ride was reassembled in 2008 at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and opened under the new name Goliath. In addition to Batman: The Ride, Six Flags removed shade coverings, ride parts, lights, security cameras, planting structures, and various other salvageable items. Six Flags also removed their large lighted sign from the park entrance, effectively indicating their intent not to return.
Despite the park's condition, as late as 2009 the Six Flags Corporation website formerly stated the following: "Six Flags is still in the process of settling claims with its insurers due to substantial damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. As a result, Six Flags New Orleans will remain closed at this time. We know that it is still a difficult time for the residents of New Orleans, and we remain committed to working with the city in support of the recovery efforts." The New Orleans section has since been removed from the Six Flags website.
Redevelopment proposals 
Southern Star Amusement Inc. (2008-2011) 
In April 2008 Southern Star Amusement Inc. proposed to take over the site lease, promising to expand the park to over 60 rides (more than double its pre-Katrina size), complete a water park that Six Flags had been planning, and add an RV park. Southern Star Amusement Inc. pledged to open the park as Legend City Adventure Park, with 60 rides in place, including a new water park by the summer of 2009 if the city approved the lease takeover, with the campground to follow. The New Orleans City Council is studying the proposal. One issue concerning rebuilding has been Six Flags' continued removal of infrastructure from the park. In a quarterly conference call Six Flags discussed plans to remove the S&S Towers by 2009 with more ride removals to follow. Items from existing Jazzland rides, such as Mega Zeph's trains and Spillway Splashout's boats, have been sent to other parks. On September 27, 2008, Southern Star Amusement stated on their website that they would no longer be trying to revive Six Flags New Orleans. They did not comment on what situations influenced their decision, but it is speculated that the extensive recycling and removal of rides and current economic situation were key issues.
As of February 2009, Southern Star is taking another look at the park and considering a takeover bid with the City of New Orleans. Should SSAI go forward it would be a scaled down effort, with intentions only to reopen the park with a water park added within the existing midway area. The idea is to reopen and build incrementally, saving about $50 million in improvements for the next few years. Given the current economic situation, this plan seems to be the only way that the park can be saved. The basic idea is to use investors and Go Zone Bonds to raise the $35 to $40 million needed to just reopen the park with basic improvements that are needed to make a real recovery and profit. Southern Star Amusement's CEO Danny R. Rogers is asking that Six Flags stop all removal action of equipment from the park, as the equipment in question belongs to the City of New Orleans and not Six Flags Inc. The return of other equipment taken from the park by Six Flags Inc. is also being asked for.
On September 18, 2009, the city of New Orleans fined Six Flags $3 million and ordered the park to vacate its lease.
As of early 2010, the site was overgrown with debris and weeds. Removal of the debris and underbrush had begun.
As of April 11, 2010, the site was still shut down with no future clear, since New Orleans officially now owns the property and the plans for the Nickelodeon-branded theme park fell through three months after bonds failed to come through.
On January 21, 2011, Southern Star Amusements went public with its redevelopment plans for the park, posting a link on their company website. On January 26, 2011, SSA posted a Letter of Intent for the park on its website. The redevelopment plans give a brief history of the property, pre and post-Katrina condition photos, development concept photos, written descriptions of each phase of the redevelopment procedure, and business projections for when it opens. During "Phase I," SSA plans on restoring what is left of the park, as well as expanding upon it by adding more rides and reverting the park back to its original Louisiana theme. The park would be revamped to reflect Louisiana's history and heritage, with one of the proposed sections paying tribute to the now defunct Pontchartrain Beach, which closed in 1983. "Phase II" entails adding a water park and future expansion phases include adding a youth sports complex, an on-site hotel/resort, and a movie studio/backlot that would cater to the needs of production companies filming in the New Orleans area. Plans also include developing an entertainment and shopping district within the park. These plans do entail utilizing all 224 acres of the site of which only 100 acres are developed and occupied by the remains of the park. The Letter of Intent from SSA simply hashes out a lease agreement between the city and SSA, stating SSA's proposed terms of the lease and its intent for utilizing and restoring the area. SSA would enter a 75-year lease and take on the property in its current condition. SSA plans to take possession of the property prior to the establishment of the lease in order to provide preliminary security and repair/cleanup services. The lease would not take effect until SSA has taken possession of the property, started the cleanup process, and provided proof of funding to the city. After that, the city has 15 days to execute its end of the agreement. Any and all improvements made would belong to SSA and the lease would end in the year 2085.
Jazzland Paidia Company 
In 2011 "The Paidia Company" made a proposal to re-open the park as Jazzland again . The President of The Paidia Company continues to try and purchase the park from The City of New Orleans. There are scheduled plans for the park already made, including: Newly designed themes for the park, A water park, and a Studio Movie Back-lot. The themes of the park include re-using some existing rides. "Sportsman's Paradise" will include the existing Jester coaster, but will be moved to another area of the park and re-painted. Ozarka Splash, and Mega Zeph will be restored. Zydeco Scream is salvageable, but will be removed to make room for other plans. The Muskrat Scrambler coaster obtained too much damage from Hurricane Katrina and will be removed. These plans are currently moving forward and will possibly bring the park back to life.
Jazzland Outlet Mall (2011-2013) 
In August 2011, the city of New Orleans called for proposals for redevelopment ideas for the site. Eight entrepreneurs stepped forward to suggest turning the property into everything from a power plant, a theme park, or even an outlet mall. As of November 29, 2011, the city of New Orleans has chosen two of the proposed projects: an outlet mall and a green theme park. On February 6, 2012, it was reported that the selection committee rejected the plan for the site of Six Flags New Orleans to become a theme park, leaving the upscale outlet mall as the only proposal being considered by the committee. Despite the committee's actions, one of the original eight entrepreneurs continued to try to get public support for their Jazzland Park proposal, which includes the addition of a water park and movie studio back lot.
One month later on March 6, 2012, the city of New Orleans gave the "green light" to build Jazzland Outlet Mall to Provident Reality Advisors and DAG Development. The proposal is for a 400,000 square foot upscale outlet mall and entertainment boardwalk on the former theme park site, costing $40 million for part of phase one and using some of the rides from the theme park. Construction would take between three and four years to build. During the planned period of due diligence and pre-construction,  in March 2013 the development plans were called off. The developer cited competition from the planned expansion of Riverwalk Marketplace to include an outlet mall, making the Jazzland Outlet Mall unviable. 
Use as film shoot location 
The New Orleans Industrial Development Board agreed to let 20th Century Fox film Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters in the abandoned theme park, during the summer of 2012 through August. Mega Zeph, Ozarka Splash, and The Big Easy are three rides that have been shot for the movie along with five other rides that the production crew had brought into the park, since all the original rides were rendered inoperable to shoot for the movie. Before shooting at the park for five weeks, the production crew took two weeks to whip the derelict park into the needed condition by installing lighting and covering up the graffiti on the buildings. The park will portray the fictional Circeland on the island of Polyphemus, that was built by the goddess Circe, only to be destroyed by the cyclops Polyphemus.
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- Nickelodeon Enters Into Licensing Arrangement to Create a New Nickelodeon-branded theme/water park in New Orleans, Louisiana
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- http://www.wwltv.com/local/stories/wwl050508tpsixflags.d0c8f24c.html[dead link]
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- White, Jaquetta (February 6, 2012). "Six Flags redevelopment committee narrows field to upscale outlet mall". Nola. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- Jazzland Park
- White, Jaquetta (March 6, 2012). "City to move forward with outlet mall at Six Flags site". Nola.com. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
- Robin, Natasha (March 5, 2012). "Outlet mall proposed for old Six Flags site". fox8live.com. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
- Eggler, Bruce (13 March, 2013). "Proposed outlet mall at Six Flags site appears to be dead". NOLA.com. Retrieved 13 March, 2013.
- Murphy, Paul (June 6, 2012). "Outlet mall project progressing at Six Flags site". WWLTV.com. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
- Scott, Mike (July 22, 2012). "Abandoned Six Flags New Orleans site comes alive for 'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters' shoot". NOLA.com. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Six Flags New Orleans|
- Jazzland Park
- Six Flags New Orleans at the Roller Coaster DataBase
- Photos of the park in 2010 (Abandoned USA)
- Gallery of pictures of Six Flags after Katrina
- Southern Star Amusement [dead link]
- Six Flags New Orleans on Modern Day Ruins