Rotting, abandoned New Orleans theme-park


LostLosAngeles's "Lost Big Easy" Flickr set documents an urban exploration expedition through an abandoned Six Flags park near New Orleans -- it's theme park Southern Gothic, with a side of HDR for spice.

lost Big Easy (via JWZ)

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  1. I think I already played this level, it’s called “Dark Carnival.”

    (Great photos, btw…)

  2. If that is from the Six Flags Jazz land I’ve been on that roller coster before. It used to have single car that looked like mine carts and would jolt you around when it made a turn. I think there was also a cartoon gopher.

    1. For second I thought you were making another L4D/Source joke. Then I realized that HDR is used in places besides computer games.

  3. I dislike HDR more and more every time I see it. It makes the images look like chain hotel bathroom art. I think these photos would be much more powerful without it.

  4. I think the pictures are great, but the stylized effects just aren’t doing it for me. They seem to be hiding more of the space, rather than revealing it. Just my opinion.

  5. Hasn’t the Joker used this place as his hideout in countless capers against the Caped Crusader?

  6. I think this story is about the old Pontchatrain Beach. I think the Batts sold it to Six Flags before it was shut down–kind of sad for those of us who remember it. Ron Newton and I use to ride the rollercoaster over and over–they didn’t even make us get off between rides.

    Me.

  7. I live in NOLA. A couple of months ago I went into the park alone to snap photos. “Southern Gothic” is an understatement. The place was cool as Hell in all of it’s shabby, beat down glory. Very next weekend… took a friend and my wife back out there so they could take a look around. We went about 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning… because I reasoned that there would be less of a chance of crossing paths with the NOPD. I was wrong. We all got busted. Soooo…. just know that even though there are holes in the fence and few NO TRESPASSING signs… that the cops are cruising through. One last thing… if you do go out… take a friend.. and try to avoid climbing up the coasters. The place is an accident waiting to happen. But it is cool!

  8. Jazzland was pretty fun back in the day. I only went a handful of times, some before Six Flags bought the place, some after. I remember being annoyed that Six Flags changed the motion ride from its original story about Jean Lafitte to something to do with Spongebob, but it was still cool to have a real themepark close enough to visit once a year or so. It’s sad that, after Katrina, Six Flags didn’t feel it was worth repairing.

  9. I noticed the park driving around NOLA a few weeks ago when I was visiting my uncle in East N.O. My uncle’s house was submerged in 5 feet of water for 6 weeks. They had to completely redo the ground floor. They live in a gated community, and there are many abandoned houses with tall grass and vines growing all over.

    There are large shopping complexes right by the Six Flags that are also standing abandoned. If the buildings were wood, they’ve been razed to the ground, but if they were brick and concrete, they are still standing. There were no stores in that neighborhood for 5 years, but new ones are starting to pop up now.

    Which made me think. Something like Katrina is going to happen again in NOLA, and it will happen soon. What risk analysis are these companies doing before starting a new store (most of the new stores are big brands/franchises). If I was living in that neighborhood right now, I’d doing some detailed planning on a phased move-out.

  10. (Forgot to sign-in before so this may end up a double post.)
    Jazzland was pretty fun back in the day. I only went a handful of times, some before Six Flags bought the place, some after. I remember being annoyed that Six Flags changed the motion ride from its original story about Jean Lafitte to something to do with Spongebob, but it was still cool to have a real themepark close enough to visit once a year or so. (I grew up about 60 miles from NOLA.) It’s sad that, after Katrina, Six Flags didn’t feel it was worth repairing.

    1. “It’s sad that, after Katrina, Six Flags didn’t feel it was worth repairing.”

      I guess it’s their decision, but it seems like such a pity when there was all that great equipment there, and people had worked so hard to create a fun experience, to just walk away, lock the gate, and let it rot.

  11. Wow, I do love decaying structures. It’s so funny to me (why, I don’t know!) that in some places things get waterlogged, mold and rot, and in other places things just kind of dry up and blow away as dust. Swamp vs. desert! Who will win?!

  12. @hooeezit. Well something will happen here again at some point sooner or later… hopefully not as bad as what Katrina did. New Orleans is a place unto itself… I fell pretty certain no matter what happens here people will just continue to adapt… the houses may end up being on two story stilts… or people may end up living on house boats… but it ain’t going anywhere.

    1. Don’t get me wrong – I love NOLA. It’s one of the best vibes I’ve gotten in any city in the US. But if I were an individual living in NOLA, and I had lost so much in Katrina, I wouldn’t spend much effort in reconstructing my home given the weather extremes we are experiencing. It would be great if NOLA stays the way it is, but 2 more hurricanes will guarantee otherwise. Nature is good at taking back what’s hers. NOLA was marshland, and it will be that again. Whether it’s 5 years or 500 is entirely up to Mother Nature’s whim.

    2. Take sea level rise, coastal erosion, land subsidence, and storm surges from hurricanes into account, and New Orleans may be a tragic loss in this century.

      It doesn’t have to be, The Netherlands’ reclaiming of ocean bottom as livable/arable space shows that. There’s just not the political will in this society to do anything even close to what’s needed to keep the city above the waves.

  13. These photos would be great without the gratuitous tone mapping. It’s autotune for photography, and I personally hate it when taken so far.

  14. Here’s a link to an excellent creepy video shot inside the abandoned park. Reminds me a lot of The Walking Dead. Bonus: No HDR

  15. Oh for sure… but that can be said of any city… or place. Eventually everything goes away… and or is retooled or changes.

  16. 1) The park was already featured on BB a few months ago.
    2) I hate HDR. Why isn’t it dead yet? It’s the AutoTune of the photography world.

  17. Ashes to ashes
    Dissonance to dirt
    Let the past remind us that
    That the other half blinds us
    to the situations that establish themselves

    when businessmen economically flagellate themselves

    A New World Order, but no new regrets
    Replacing Sponge Bob with egrets
    We see the Dollar Folly
    When Mother Nature Hollers Loudly

    Destruction runs amok
    and the Local people are stuck.

    (yay New Orleans!)

  18. I spent a truly miserable afternoon in Jazzland once. We sat in the Jean Lafitte ride for a good half hour before they informed us it was broken. Got to the front of the rollercoaster line before being told there was an issue with the brakes. The carousel and log flume were the only things worth visiting that day. The tickets were free and I still felt ripped off.

  19. This was Six Flags New Orleans, formerly Jazzland. Pontchartrain Beach was in a different location, now the site of a University of New Orleans research park (and before that, there was another Pontchartrain Beach park in a different location).

    A good resource for finding amusement parks and tracing their history is the Roller Coaster Database, http://www.rcdb.com/4747.htm

    It is sad that Six Flags wasn’t able to rescue this park, but as a company they were in a lot of financial trouble and were selling off a bunch of parks anyway:

    On September 12, 2005 (two weeks after Katrina hit), they announced they were closing Six Flags Astroworld in Houston. Later that year they got a new board of directors. In 2006 they closed a theme park and water park in Oklahoma City, and then in January 2007 they sold off six more parks. In 2009 they filed for bankruptcy, and as part of the reorganization they closed yet another park in Kentucky.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Flags#Asset_sales_and_shareholder_revolt

    So unfortunately they were in a lot of trouble and really didn’t have any way of rebuilding SFNO.

  20. I’m pretty bored with tonemapping as the “instant creepy button”. Saw a similar set from Pripyat, Ukraine a few months ago.

  21. I love HDR shots, especially those that seem most nuclear fallout, or something to that effect.

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