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Old 30 May 2009, 08:43 PM
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Vanishing Six Flags, silenced by Katrina, creates uproar in New Orleans

The roller coasters are quiet and the Ferris wheel is frozen in midspin. Six Flags New Orleans, once teeming with shrieking tourists, sits empty and overgrown with weeds in the eastern part of the city a hulking, rusting reminder of the devastation unleashed by Hurricane Katrina nearly four years ago.

Six Flags officials say the park was losing money even before the 2005 floods, and they don't plan to reopen it.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...sixflags_N.htm
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Old 30 May 2009, 09:42 PM
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The park was losing money because, when it opened as Jazzland, it kind of sucked. Six Flags bought it and had just reopened it as Six Flags New Orleans, complete with brand new roller coasters and vast improvements, a few months before Katrina.

I went to the park two or three while it was Jazzland. Their landscaping was terrible, tons of concrete and very little shade made the place ridiculously hot. The rides were plunked down with no rhyme, reason, or theme. It felt a bit like a stationary carnival. The main rollercoaster attraction was decent, but overall the rides were pretty meh.

I went once when after the Six Flags takeover. A group of friends had been meaning to get together and decided to take advantage of discount tickets and go on the last weekend the park had extended their hours. The landscaping had been redone and there were more shady areas and one of those "cooling station" shower things little kids love. They were visibly working on the themes - the new rides changed the path through the park a little and there were more interesting decorations between rides. The shops were carrying nicer merchandise and not terrible Disney knock-offs that looked like had cooties. The new rides were great. When the park opened, we took part in the mad dash to the Batman coaster and I loved the ride. There were a lot more people there. It looked like the changeover could easily turn things around.

That was, I believe, August 20, 2005.

Watching TV via a generator a little more than a week later, one of the creepiest images was that of the rollercoasters protruding from the floodwater like tall skeletons. I have photographs somewhere around here of what the storm did to the Batman ride. If I remember correctly, there were pieces of track missing. For the next couple of years, every time I drove by I'd see them standing still and wonder what was going to happen to the place.

Business-wise, Six Flags stretched themselves too thin. Jazzland was only one of several smaller parks they acquired in a relatively short period of time and all required a lot of time and money to be rebranded, if not remodeled. One thing that the New Orleans site had going for it was that it served a pretty large area that didn't have competing theme parks. Given a little more time, it very well might have been successful. The company was already in trouble though, and Katrina gave them a very easy way to let go of one of the balls they were juggling.
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Old 30 May 2009, 11:33 PM
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I was hoping for more pictures
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Old 31 May 2009, 05:45 AM
ARubberChickenWithAPulley ARubberChickenWithAPulley is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astra View Post
The company was already in trouble though, and Katrina gave them a very easy way to let go of one of the balls they were juggling.
That's pretty well it, I'd guess. Six Flags is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy right now, and I doubt they have the capital to rebuild an entire park even if they wanted to.
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