New Orleans amusement park, reminder of Hurricane Katrina, may soon come down

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Zydeco Scream roller coaster stands motionless, and so does the Big Easy Ferris Wheel. Scampering rabbits, slithering snakes and lurking alligators are the only visitors to the abandoned Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans. Once it resounded with children’s laughter and the shrieks of passengers on the thrill rides.

Now the only sound is the drone of the cicadas.

The amusement park on the city’s eastern edge is perhaps the most high-profile, lingering and ghostly reminder of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Ever since the levees failed and flooded the city with water in 2005, the park has stood empty, creating a nuisance for neighbors, a target for graffiti artists and an eerie landmark for sightseers.

Now, the city’s mayor says she’s getting close to tearing it all down.

“Right now, I have my sights on the Six Flags site, which we are now running numbers for demolition, really, as I speak,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced in May. She gave no further details on any demolition or redevelopment plans. In response to requests for information, her office released a statement saying an assessment is currently being done to determine the best use for the site, and that the administration is committed to improving the quality of life for residents of New Orleans East.

The park opened in 2000 under the name Jazzland Theme Park, but it went bankrupt in two seasons. Six Flags took over the lease, but then Hurricane Katrina struck, submerging the park and much of the city. The theme park never reopened, and eventually Six Flags went bankrupt. Control of the property went to the Industrial Development Board of the City of New Orleans.

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