While the history of Six Flags (originally opened as Jazzland) is well known by people who were living in the area at the time of Hurricane Katrina, it isn’t known to others living outside the area.
Jazzland was opened in New Orleans East, about 14 miles from the French Quarter. It only operated for a couple of years under this ownership when the park was purchased by Six Flags. Six Flags agreed to a 75 year lease with the city of New Orleans which would keep the park in the area for a very long time.
In August of 2005, however, the area took a hit from Hurricane Katrina. Many people refer to it as a ‘direct hit’, but the truth is the area known as Waveland, Mississippi is where the storm made landfall. Regardless, the city of New Orleans did suffer heavy damage and flooding. The park was flooded with 4-7 feet of water for more than a month.
In the months following Katrina, the effort to get the city back up and running took the Lion’s share of resources and the park was left sitting. Finally, when the water in the park had mostly receded, Six Flags sent a team to assess the property. This team deemed the park a complete loss. Due to this determination, Six Flags requested that they be released from their contract with the city. The city eventually agreed (after being paid a sizable sum of money by the company) and Six Flags was no more. Before leaving town, Six Flags was able to remove and repurpose a few of the rides. Most notably the Batman ride and the ride with the twin towers (I’m not sure what the name of that one was). They also took security cameras and pretty much anything that was worth anything.
The city eventually requested that they leave the property and not remove anything else.
That’s really where the story ends. That was in 2005 and, as I type this, the park has been untouched. Well, untouched by anyone in an official capacity, but very much touched by vandals and the like. Graffiti now covers any area accessible to the ‘taggers’.
Many urban explorers have entered the property and documented their conduct on Youtube and the like. Some have been caught, but most have not.
Now, in 2019, and with a new Mayor, the city has once again turned its attention to the ill fated amusement park. Now, the call is to demolish the park. This comes even with a viable offer to purchase the property and reopen the park sitting on the table. A group knows as; “Jazzland Park” has a detailed plan to regenerate the park and return it to the original splendor that it displayed on opening day.
My family visited the park several times when it was Jazzland. I don’t think we even went after Six Flags purchased it, but I don’t remember why. We were probably busy doing other things. I really don’t remember.
In any event, here are some of those photos taken in 2002;
Not wishing to get caught trespassing and face the possible jail time, I opted to fly my drone into the park. I was located on public property and the ‘sky’ as you may know is ‘owned’ by the FAA. There are no flight restrictions in that area and no reason that a drone couldn’t fly there. There are no people to fly over and no property to damage – the damage has already been done. So, over several days, I would drive out to the park to fly my drone and get as many images as I could. I was driven to the decision to do this by the Mayor’s announcement that the park would be torn down. The park isn’t in a very good area and crime is rampant, but I always take the necessary precautions. Everything went fine and I was able to get a great many photos of the park and most (if not all) of the rides.
The response to these photos on Facebook has been outstanding! There are a great many people interested in the fate of Six Flags (Jazzland).
So many people that I believe the plan offered by the Jazzland Park group would be well supported if it were allowed to go through. Here are the photos that I took with the drone. Day one:
I am still working to gain (legal) access to the park, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Time will tell.
I also created a video of the park which you can find here;