Six Flags New Orleans
Located in New Orleans, LA
Photo © 2010 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Six Flags New Orleans History
This park first opened in 2000 as Jazzland, which included four roller coasters (the largest being the Mega Zeph, a wooden coaster on steel supports), a log flume, carousel, and other common spinning rides. The operator, Alpha Smart Parks, was accustomed to running water parks and could not turn a profit with Jazzland. When the lease was put up for sale, Six Flags purchased it in 2002. They upgraded the park and named it Six Flags New Orleans, with more shaded areas, rides, and re-branding the park to the theme which included the dancing old man "Mr. Six." Two looping roller coasters were brought in, and a water park addition was being planned in 2005, but fell apart once Hurricane Katrina arrived.
The park rested on a low-laying parcel of land which was surrounded by a 6-foot earthen berm. When the hurricane swept through in August of 2005, brackish water from Lake Pontchartrain overflowed into the park, and the berm essentially created a huge bathtub once the park's drainage pumps failed. The salty water rose to a depth of 4 to 7 feet for over a month, corroding the rides and equipment to a state of major disrepair. Inspectors determined that 80% of the buildings were demolished, all the flat rides unsalvageable, and the the Mega Zeph's superstructure was damaged beyond repair. The only large ride that could be saved was the Batman: The Ride roller coaster, due to an elevated position and corrosion resistant supports.
Pending lawsuits to recover money from insurance claims keep the property in limbo, as Six Flags has a 75-year lease contract with the city of New Orleans, where it is legally obligated to rebuild. The city eventually fined Six Flags $3 million and ordered the park to vacate the lease, giving control of the property back to the city. Redevelopment plans have come and gone, and the site is used as a movie set in the meantime. It is featured in films such as Killer Joe, Stolen, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Jurassic World.