New Orleans, LA

The New Orleans Themed-Park that Became Abandoned after Being Destroyed by Hurricane Katrina

Diana Rus

Six Flags New Orleans is an abandoned theme park near the crossroads of Interstates 10 and 510 in New Orleans.

The park opened as Jazzland on May 20, 2000, with an expected attendance of 20-25,000 people and 75-80,000 season tickets sold. The park  was run by the Greek holding firm Alfa SmartParks.

The first themed areas were Kids' Carnival, Jazz Plaza, Pontchartrain Beach, Cajun Country, Mardi Gras, and The Goodtime Gardens.

Due to Alfa SmartParks' expertise in operating water parks and smaller entertainment arcades, the park did not make a profit. The number of visitors dropped from 1.1 million for the first season to between 560 and 580 thousand for the next one. Alfa filed for bankruptcy reorganization in February 2002.

After investing $20 million in renovations, Six Flags reopened the park as Six Flags New Orleans in April 2003. Six Flags introduced extra covered places as well as many new flat-spinning rides. Six Flags was rebranded, and the "It's playtime!" concept was adopted, including a dancing old man, Mr. Six.

The park closed on Sunday, August 21, 2005, eight days before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

But, due to the fact that schools in the New Orleans region begin in early August and end in the middle of May, weekday operations had ended a few weeks earlier. The park was supposed to reopen for the weekend on August 27 or 28, but when Katrina was predicted to directly reach New Orleans late on Friday, August 26, the weekend reopening was postponed so that preparations for the storm and evacuations could be made.
View south from The Big Easy Ferris wheelPhoto bySix Flags New Orleans/Wikipedia

Hurricane Katrina

The park installed drainage pipes to prevent flooding because it was close to Lake Pontchartrain. Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans on the morning of August 29, 2005, shortly after daybreak, causing 1,464 fatalities and more than $100 billion in damages.

The Louisiana Superdome served as a haven for up to 26,000 city inhabitants, as more than 80% of New Orleans was submerged in water.

Six Flags New Orleans' drainage system was overwhelmed by water from Lake Pontchartrain and unable to handle the volume of water flowing through it, flooding the theme park throughout the length of Katrina.
The park still flooded two weeks after Hurricane KatrinaPhoto bySix Flags New Orleans/Wikipedia

After the hurricane, the park was left 6 feet underwater, and it took more than a month for the water to drain, leaving destruction in its wake.

The park's grounds are in a low-lying area of Eastern New Orleans, and a 6-foot earthen flood barrier surrounds them to form an artificial basin. As a result, this region saw significant flooding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The whole park grounds were submerged in corrosive, brackish floodwater to a depth of 4 to 7 feet for more than a month after Katrina when the park's drainage pumps malfunctioned during the hurricane and held the combination of rains and seawater overflow from Lake Pontchartrain.

The park was shut down permanently with no plans for reopening due to the significant flood and wind damage experienced.
Debris still on Ozarka Splash in 2011Photo bySix Flags New Orleans/Wikipedia


Comments / 6

Published by

My name is Diana Rus, and I'm a Romanian content writer with a passion for exploring the world and sharing my experiences with others. I studied Marketing at University and have a master's degree in Marketing Research. My true passion lies in writing, and in my articles, I share my thoughts and ideas on a variety of topics, including interesting places from the US and around the world, history, and important events.


More from Diana Rus

Comments / 0