A Six Flags in New Orleans has been abandoned for 15 years — take a look at the haunting photos
On August 25, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. After the storm, it was estimated that 80% of New Orleans was under water.
One of the eeriest and long-standing reminders of Katrina is the abandoned Six Flags in New Orleans East, which has become a popular attraction for urban explorers.
Keep scrolling to see what the park looks like over a decade after the storm.
The Six Flags was left submerged in floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
After the floodwaters receded, what was left of the amusement park was a wasteland.
The park, which spans 140 acres, has been abandoned since the hurricane.
The sign still reads “Closed for Storm.”
Originally called Jazzland, the park opened in 2000, but was acquired by Six Flags in 2003 and renamed Six Flags New Orleans (SFNO).
According to Theme Park Tourist, one of Jazzland’s main problems was that it was difficult to get there from the more tourist-friendly parts of New Orleans.
SFNO takes inspiration from its location, including areas based on the famous architecture of the French Quarter.
There’s a lot more graffiti here than in the actual French Quarter.
After the storm, the park was left standing in 4 to 7 feet of water, and it had extensive wind and flood damage.
Almost all of the “flat rides” were submerged, according to Modern Day Ruins.
The severity of the damage caused the park to close indefinitely.
The gates remain locked.
In 2006, Six Flags declared the park a “total loss” and reportedly tried to get out of its 75-year lease.
New Orleans took over in 2009, according to Abandoned America.
The park had already been one of the least profitable parks in the Six Flags family.
Its location in a low-income neighborhood that’s far away from other classic New Orleans tourist attractions, like the French Quarter, was not ideal, and that issue continued even after Jazzland turned into a Six Flags.
There have been numerous attempts to re-open or revamp the park.
In 2008, Southern Star Amusement announced their plans to completely refurbish the park and even expand it, but in 2009 these plans were canceled.
Later in 2009, Nickelodeon announced its own plan to turn the park into a Nickelodeon-themed attraction.
These plans were also scrapped.
By 2011, the city of New Orleans had approved plans to construct a shopping center called Jazzland Outlet Mall in its place.
But, as the New Orleans Advocate reported, just two years later this idea was called off too.
Another proposed idea in 2011 was reopening the park under its original name, Jazzland.
While the Industrial Development Board of New Orleans originally went with the outlet mall plan, Jazzland continued pursuing the idea and maintained its interest in purchasing the land in 2017.
The Industrial Development Board turned over decision-making power to the mayor in May 2017.
Mitch Landrieu was the Mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018 — his term ended in May that year. It became his decision in 2017.
When another company made their interest in the land known, pitching the “Dreamlanding Festival Park,” Mayor Landrieu didn’t approve.
NOLA.com reported in 2018 that current mayor LaToya Cantrell also passed on Dreamlanding Festival Park.
In 2019, new mayor LaToya Cantrell announced she is “running numbers for demolition” on the park, but there have been no updates since.
According to NOLA.com, demolition could cost $1.3 million.
So 15 years after Hurricane Katrina, the park still stands as a marker of the devastation that the storm caused.
There are also parts of New Orleans proper that haven’t recovered.
But the land hasn’t been completely ignored. Many movies have been shot at the park, like “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” which transformed it into Circeland.
“A reported 100 alligators were removed from the site as it was being prepared for the crew to take over,” according to NOLA.com.
Blockbusters that have taken advantage of the decidedly creepy atmosphere are “Jurassic World” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
According to Wired, the “Jurassic World” crew filmed at the park for nine weeks.
The last film shot at Six Flags New Orleans was “Deepwater Horizon” in 2015.
“Deepwater Horizon” mainly used the parking lot of SFNO to build a gigantic oil rig, NOLA.com reported.
TV shows have also used the site. Freeform’s “Cloak & Dagger” had an episode focused on the park in 2018.
“Cloak & Dagger,” one of the TV shows that’s part of the larger extended Marvel universe, took place in New Orleans — so of course, the characters had to visit the landmark in an episode fittingly titled “Funhouse Mirrors.”
A trailer for a documentary, “Closed For Storm,” dropped on YouTube in May 2020. It’s about the rise and fall of the park.
YouTube documentarian Jake Williams told Nola.com it took five months to get permission from the city of New Orleans to film inside the park. Speaking of abandoned places, “They’re like museums,” he told the site, “like walking through a period of time.”
Watch the trailer here.
But besides filming, the park has stood empty, making it a popular attraction for urban explorers.
There are plenty of YouTube videos.
Much of the park is still intact. Visitors have said it looks like the site of a “Leftovers”-esque disappearance, as if all of the park’s visitors magically vanished.
“Walking into the abandoned amusement park 10 years after Hurricane Katrina devastated it was an eerie experience. Gone was the scent of cotton candy and the sounds of laughter as I walked into the abandoned Six Flags Amusement Park. It was like the whole world had died and I was the only one left. It wasn’t just surreal. It was apocalyptic,” photographer Seph Lawless told the New York Daily News.
Visitors should know there are dangers at SFNO, including alligators that live in the park’s waterways.
You can see them in this YouTube video, for one.
Hopefully New Orleans will decide what to do with the land soon to discourage people from putting themselves in dangerous situations — trespassing is illegal and the attractions are decayed.
The New Orleans Police Department has installed cameras to discourage explorers.
But for now, the park stands as a testament to the long-lasting and apocalyptic impact of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans, and the entire Gulf Coast.
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