75 Pictures of Abandoned Six Flags New Orleans
June 17, 2011 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Welcome to the Circus of Value Despair A collection of photos from Six Flags New Orleans, an amusement park that closed at the approach of Hurricane Katrina and never reopened. Six years later it remains, slouching slowly into rust and rubble. (previously)
posted by robocop is bleeding (100 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Buy it and turn it into a paintball course with very strong liability agreements.
posted by The Whelk at 11:41 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


They say the spirits of past attendees still haunt the grounds, standing in line for rides that will never start.
posted by Trurl at 11:43 AM on June 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Where's KISS when you need them?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:44 AM on June 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


Ride this roller coaster, would you kindly?
posted by Babblesort at 11:44 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The photos are fascinating (thanks for sharing!), but the captions are really mostly awful.
posted by pineapple at 11:47 AM on June 17, 2011 [37 favorites]


Obviously, this place was meant to be a waterpark. Right?
posted by Leezie at 11:48 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice pics, but they could do without some of that post-processing.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on June 17, 2011 [39 favorites]


Some of those are great, but some of them really suffer from injudicious post-processing. I could go the rest of my life without looking at another overdone "OMG HDR L@@K" photo ever again.

I think in a case like this, the subject matter speaks for itself and the photographers need to get the hell out of the way.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:49 AM on June 17, 2011 [23 favorites]


Maintenance staff is important to an amusement park. Without out them, the HDR gets on everything.
posted by ignignokt at 11:49 AM on June 17, 2011 [49 favorites]


oh hai filthy light thief
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:50 AM on June 17, 2011


Yeah, what the hell is it with these pastel disgusting washed out photos? All of these apps and computer programs are ruining photography.. who goes and studies light metering anymore when all you have to do is push a button and then throw a filter on in Photoshop? Arghhh! I'm not even 32 years old and I feel like a fuckin' whiny old grandpa.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:50 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have you ever BEEN to a Six Flags? It should stay closed. It's a poor excuse for a theme park.
posted by Malice at 11:52 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, wait. It was built in 2000 and bought by Six Flags in 2002? Then flooded in 2005? So it was only even open for 5 years and now abandoned for 6?

Pretty lame ghosts for having only been there for 11 years.

And those captions ARE awful.
posted by jillithd at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not clear why the pictures couldn't have spoken for themselves without all the color enhancement. And, yeah, terrible, preachy, over-explainy captions. (We *know* how a roller coaster works, that the car climbs to the top of the first hill and then rolls down, thank you very much.)
posted by aught at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2011


Babblesort: "Ride this roller coaster, would you kindly"

"No!" says the man at the controls! "You are not at least 48 inches in height!"
posted by boo_radley at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


I wish I could see Six Flags but I have been blinded by the HDR wankery.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2011


Horrific HDR. This is like as if the Flickr user is reaching through my monitor and poking me in the eye.

I used to really like Flickr, but it is such a den of overprossesed nightmares these days. Flickr themselves shoulder almost all of the blame - their "Interestingness" algorithm rewards this sort of tripe.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:57 AM on June 17, 2011


You must be this dead to ride.
posted by The Whelk at 12:01 PM on June 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is where the Gathering of the Juggalos 2012 should be.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:02 PM on June 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


Double
posted by DU at 12:02 PM on June 17, 2011


LoveThesePics rss feed now added with The Big Picture, In Focus and PictoryMag. Missing any?
posted by stbalbach at 12:02 PM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or possibly "Previously"
posted by DU at 12:03 PM on June 17, 2011


You must be this dead to ride.

Oh man, that sounds like a Goosebumps book cover caption.
posted by FJT at 12:03 PM on June 17, 2011 [17 favorites]


So, wait. It was built in 2000 and bought by Six Flags in 2002? Then flooded in 2005? So it was only even open for 5 years and now abandoned for 6?

Pretty lame ghosts for having only been there for 11 years.


You've never seen the body count of a Six Flags park. Those places are like murder factories with clowns (the best kind!).
posted by FatherDagon at 12:04 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


HDR is to photography as AutoTune is to music.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:05 PM on June 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


"I scream, you scream, but now on [sic] one screams for ice cream at Barbe’s Ice Cream Shop."

Dear lord.
posted by BurntHombre at 12:05 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate those fucking clown zombies.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:06 PM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's a BEMUSEMENT PARK.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:06 PM on June 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


HDR is to photography as AutoTune is to music.

Exactly. They're both a tool that can be used sparingly to improve a slightly flawed product, but usually, they're overused by people either lacking in taste, or missing the concept entirely.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:08 PM on June 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's kind of ironic that these pictures keep popping up in different forms when new orleans itself is so photogenic (and has it's own, beautiful, decaying side). I'm also quite sure there are more ghost IN new orleans than at six flags.

And an amusement park outside of new orleans is redundant.
posted by justgary at 12:09 PM on June 17, 2011


A Bemusement Park would have rides like The Martini Shaker, The Awkward Regatta, and Climb The Class Ladder.
posted by The Whelk at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


The photos are fascinating (thanks for sharing!), but the captions are really mostly awful.

My best guess is that the photographer put them there so that even single images copied elsewhere would still retain some contextual info to tell you what you were looking at. Reading them all in succession, though, makes me feel like they were written for the lead in Memento. "Okay, I am looking at a roller coaster... oh, Six Flags. Right. I should get a tattoo of that somewhere."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you ever BEEN to a Six Flags? It should stay closed. It's a poor excuse for a theme park.

And to add insult to injury, I'm pretty sure Gurnee, Illinois only ever had the one flag.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2011


Danger! dowager!
posted by The Whelk at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2011


I am mightily holding back from sending these to my coulrophobic friend: "This is where the clowns 'live' and molt while they digest victims. They put the shriveled husks and mummified prey on the roller coasters, faces frozen in screams, and make them ride night after night until they flake away into what most people think are dead leaves."
posted by adipocere at 12:11 PM on June 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


I CAN HAZ OVERSATURATION??
posted by spicynuts at 12:16 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


You get a +1 for the BioShock reference. Hate such HDR processing on pics.
posted by deezil at 12:17 PM on June 17, 2011


"And they grind their teeth on rusted chains,
Though Six Flags is closed, the clowns remain."

posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:18 PM on June 17, 2011


The abandonded Gulliver's Kingdom park in Japan (I believe it turned up on Boing Boing recently) is way creepier than this one....
posted by anastasiav at 12:22 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't remember the Tunnel of Love bein' this long! I musta had something else on my mind ...
posted by moonbiter at 12:24 PM on June 17, 2011


I'll also add ... those rides, even in their damaged state, are pretty valuable. Its a puzzle to me why six flags hasn't just sold off the rides for refurbishment. Or the scrappers haven't gotten them.
posted by anastasiav at 12:25 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


There seems to be no evidence of metal theft. That is odd.
posted by Cranberry at 12:30 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Buy it and turn it into a paintball course with very strong liability agreements.

I doubt they can. in the comments it basically says they can't do anything with the land (i assume that includes selling it) until the loan is paid.


very beautiful pics
posted by zombieApoc at 12:33 PM on June 17, 2011


Copper is the only metal worth steeling
posted by Renoroc at 12:33 PM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


There seems to be no evidence of metal theft. That is odd

I can not hear this in anything other than Agent Scully's voice.
posted by The Whelk at 12:33 PM on June 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


The abandonded Gulliver's Kingdom park in Japan (I believe it turned up on Boing Boing recently) is way creepier than this one....

I see this was demolished in 2007. Pity. Does anyone know of a cache for Google Maps satellite views of a fifteen-storey-tall Gulliver sprawled in the park?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:34 PM on June 17, 2011


Have you ever BEEN to a Six Flags? It should stay closed. It's a poor excuse for a theme park.

The people who have been running Six Flags (into the ground) for the past decade or so are complete idiots, but collectively the Six Flags parks have a large percentage of the best roller coasters in the US.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:41 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Many if not most of these photos are astoundingly beautiful--I'm seeing the post-production "errors" as a feature, not a bug. I started ignoring the captions early on.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:42 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't it time for Smokey & the Bandit Part IV? Mel Tillis is still around (although sadly Jerry Reed isn't)
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:42 PM on June 17, 2011


The angsty liberal in me is saying, "what, they can't recycle all that steel? Not getting any cheaper you know."
posted by contessa at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2011


Looks like Coney Island with better rides.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2011


Batman: The Ride (Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster) - Refurbished and rebuilt at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and re-named Goliath.
The Road Runner Express (Vekoma Junior Coaster 207M) - Removed by Six Flags to be placed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California and will still be called Road Runner Express


Note to self: do not trust/ride coasters that have been abandoned and standing in water for months/years.

Breaks? Pfft. Who needs them?
posted by stormpooper at 12:44 PM on June 17, 2011


In Flint, theme park disappears.

(the cheering takes some explanation)
posted by clavdivs at 12:47 PM on June 17, 2011


It's like, how much more HDR could this be? And the answer is none. None more HDR.
posted by cortex at 12:58 PM on June 17, 2011 [21 favorites]


Horrific HDR. This is like as if the Flickr user is reaching through my monitor and poking me in the eye.

I've been thinking for years, I'll be totally rich if I can just invent the technology to punch people over the internet. I see someone's beaten me to it. :(
posted by mrgoat at 1:10 PM on June 17, 2011


I feel like I just warped into Whispering Oaks.
posted by i feel possessed at 1:10 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure you laughed at При́пять.

Who's laughing now?

WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?

Well, not me. Second the motion on how much the captions suck. God, they read like a sixth grade "Look what drugs did to Tommy" health class essay.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2011


I've been thinking for years, I'll be totally rich if I can just invent the technology to punch people over the internet. I see someone's beaten me to it. :(


That last sentence is pretty punny.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:13 PM on June 17, 2011


This reminds me the photos taken of Dogpatch USA by Ozark Underground. I remember going to Dogpatch as a teenager growing up in northwest Arkansas and they depress the hell out of me.
posted by NotMyself at 1:13 PM on June 17, 2011


I agree the effects are garish, but I did like the one of the clown that seems like it's bleeding out its nose after a cocaine OD.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:15 PM on June 17, 2011


I've said this before but, HDR when used properly, is not a visible effect in the final image. It's a lot like any other form of color/tone correction, over do it and your image looks like crap. I know a guy who shoots mostly architectural stuff and does a lot of work for hotels. He used to have to bring in a bunch of lights to brighten interiors, setting them up so that the lighting in the image resembled the actual lighting. Not an easy job and a lot of work to set up and get correct and you shoot almost entirely at night. With HDR he can now just bring his camera and a tripod. To look at his images you would never know they weren't just well taken photos. He can do multiple shots of the same room without having to worry about whether the lighting set up will work from a different angle. This is really the "intended" use of HDR (it's also used heavily in CGI movie making), but just like with saturation or hue, some people just want to crank everything up to 11.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:25 PM on June 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


This gives me a sad.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:26 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The subject matter is actually a good candidate for HDR and strong tone mapping, the real problem here (besides the captions) is the inconsistency in the processing and lighting conditions. Some were shot on a cloudy day, some on a sunny day, and some at sunset. Mixing heavy tone mapping plus a grab bag of different heavy filter effects is rarely a good idea within the same collection.
posted by stp123 at 1:27 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mixing heavy tone mapping plus a grab bag of different heavy filter effects is rarely a good idea within the same collection photograph
posted by scrowdid at 1:34 PM on June 17, 2011


[read in Werner Herzog voice]: The ferris wheel, once the anchor to this bustling paradise of cheap thrills and fattening snack items, looms now over the horizon like some forgotten relic in a museum of fulfilled doomsday prophecies.
posted by perhapses at 1:42 PM on June 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's a BEMUSEMENT PARK.

Is that where people go on bemusement leave?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:42 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, the HDR is ass, but the photos were ass to begin with. So it is like putting cheap perfume on a pig. Great location, though. (Envious)
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:45 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


HDR is to photography as AutoTune is to music.

Exactly. They're both a tool that can be used sparingly to improve a slightly flawed product, but usually, they're overused by people either lacking in taste, or missing the concept entirely.


Suddenly I have this strange desire to see someone do this kind of post-processing oversaturation to the news.

The subject matter is strong enough and haunting enough to stand on its own without the post-processing. Although, the photographer doesn't have a great eye for composition; these would be more obviously a bit of a mixed bag if they weren't uniformly over-photoshopped.

#49 and #50 reminded me of running around on that roller coaster in Primm in Fallout: New Vegas. The captions were trying to set up that person to be a ghost but all I could think was "raider".
posted by mstokes650 at 1:49 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The video in the [previously] link is HDR free!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:50 PM on June 17, 2011


The subject matter is actually a good candidate for HDR and strong tone mapping,

I agree with the HDR part, but people have been confusing tone mapping with hdr for a while, and these pictures aren't helping. The best HDR just helps with the dynamic range that digital lacks, but film had. When it's used right and well, you can't really tell other than there being more detail held at both ends of the images (darks and lights). With the structure and likelihood of there being a drastic range between the lights and darks, it does make a good candidate for it. When you see the halos though, that's a sign it's gone too far.

I do have to say though, i've known some "urban explorers" who take photos where they go, and while they may be good at going these places, they usually aren't the best photographers, and looking at the photos they take is like watching family snapshots of people you don't know. You have no emotional investment, so it's "dark tunnel", run down building, etc...
posted by usagizero at 1:51 PM on June 17, 2011


Looks like Coney Island with better rides.

There was no place like it, in the whole world,
like Coney Island when I was a youngster.

No place in the world like it, and it was so fabulous.
Now it's shrunk down to almost nothing...you see.
posted by Jpfed at 1:56 PM on June 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I feel like I just warped into Whispering Oaks.

I was going to say Lakeside Amusement Park from Silent Hill. Either way!
posted by slackdog at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2011


I am pretty over urban explorer photography. People aren't saying anything new and the images (usually) aren't elevated beyond snapshots. I mean, I am interested in cultural landscapes and history of place but so many of these "bodies of work" are just flimsy excuses for people to trespass and feel badass. Maybe it was a cool experience but I am not getting much from the images.
posted by rachums at 1:58 PM on June 17, 2011


The graffiti was amazing.
posted by merelyglib at 2:02 PM on June 17, 2011


Photoshop asshat/snake oil salesman Scott Kelby takes great pride in claiming that Adobe put the "fake HDR" tonal processing into Photoshop a couple of versions ago based on his input, and Adobe has touted it as a desirable feature, poor dears. Good to know my feelings about it, and the visual gag reflex it tends to generate, are vindicated by the comments in this thread. Indeed, potentially great images shot to shit by too much digital mental masturbation. Thank Kelby for this trend, folks, he's the gift that keeps on giving.
posted by dbiedny at 2:03 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


You forgot "smug wannabe comedian" along with asshat and snake oil sales among Scott Kelby's, um, skills.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:06 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


anastasiav: The abandonded Gulliver's Kingdom park in Japan (I believe it turned up on Boing Boing recently) is way creepier than this one....

Previously on MetaFilter (self-link) -- the whole history is weird, making the creepy pictures even more off-putting.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:09 PM on June 17, 2011


Should also mention the legacy of Pontchatrain Beach, which closed in 1983.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:11 PM on June 17, 2011


Hurricane Katrina killed this clown.

Indeed.
posted by Bonzai at 2:23 PM on June 17, 2011


i would love to run around in there
posted by actionmotionpoet at 2:25 PM on June 17, 2011


Photo #2 and Photo #41 are of the same clown. I guess #2 is after the OD.
posted by WalterMitty at 2:27 PM on June 17, 2011


“Under The Sea” probably never was envisioned to literally be submerged by the sea like when Hurricane Katrina attacked. Now the merman is headless as if he couldn’t bear to watch abandoned Six Flags be further ravaged by the elements and be unmaintained.
posted by Flashman at 2:33 PM on June 17, 2011


Great post - Super Bonus Points for the Bioshock reference.

Gosh - they should shoot the movie version there!
posted by helmutdog at 2:56 PM on June 17, 2011


i feel possessed: "I feel like I just warped into Whispering Oaks"

Apropos of nothing else, L4D2 is on sale today for less than $7! It is a good deal and if you like video games about shooting clowns that are also zombies you ought to check it out. There are a bunch of mefights who will help you figure stuff out or tear out your sweet fleshy flesh depending on which mode you're playing.
posted by boo_radley at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2011


To echo everyone, too much fuckery in these photos.

I'd really like to see what this place actually looks like, rather than the output of someone fucking about with sliders in Lightroom.
posted by MattWPBS at 3:45 PM on June 17, 2011


Poignantly creepy! I would love to love to run around in there, too.
posted by marimeko at 3:49 PM on June 17, 2011


I was expecting poignant and grim images.

Instead I got heavy-handed HDR and cotton-candy fakery that defeats the whole premise.
posted by bwg at 4:26 PM on June 17, 2011


This really is like a zombie amusement park.

I am impressed at the funnier graffiti..and who ever was nuts enough to climb that coaster for a photo.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:34 PM on June 17, 2011


I was on the gulf coast in May of last year covering the oil spill (I'm a photojournalist) for a handful of publications. On my last day in New Orleans, I found myself in a Catholic Church parking lot at 3:30 in the afternoon on Mother's Day Sunday. I walked to my car, eager to get to my hotel and wrap up what had been an intense week of work when I was carjacked at gunpoint. I managed to keep my cool and negotiate for my camera gear. I called the police and went through the rigamarole of reporting the crime. One of the officers responding to the scene offered to take me to my hotel, as I had no other means of conveyance. On the way he asked me if I would like to go to Six Flags. I told him "no, I don't really feel like it. It's been kind of a long day," to which he replied "Oh, you definitely want to go to Six Flags. Let's go to Six Flags!"

I got a 2-hour police escort around one of the coolest, creepiest places I've ever been. I took pictures of course. Some of them ended up in a Katrina 5-year anniversary package on Time.com. You can see them here (self link). I promise there is no HDR.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 6:15 PM on June 17, 2011 [25 favorites]


Oh, thank you SO much for that self-link! Your photos are loads better than the others.

(No offense intended at all to robocop, because the abandoned-Six-Flags is the real story. I just happen to prefer TheGoldenOne's illustration of said story, now that I've seen both.)
posted by pineapple at 7:05 PM on June 17, 2011


No worries. Had I seen those pictures first, I would have posted them.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:33 PM on June 17, 2011


Amateur tone-mapped images make eyes bleed!
posted by jnnla at 8:58 PM on June 17, 2011


I've stayed and/or worked in New Orleans East on several trips to help rebuild. This place was always this weird thing that we kept driving past and were curious about. It's cool to finally see it. Thanks especially to TheGoldenOne for her excellent shots of what it actually looks like. Talk about a place that doesn't need photoshop tricks to make it creepy.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:00 AM on June 18, 2011


I promise there is no HDR.

Sorry Melissa, photographers have a million ways to be annoying, HDR is just one of them. I closed your site the moment it started playing sound.
posted by ryanrs at 7:10 AM on June 18, 2011


the photographer doesn't have a great eye for composition

I thought this was a collection of several people's photos. Check the copyright note in the captions.
posted by salvia at 9:49 AM on June 18, 2011


Oh, TheGoldenOne, this one is by far the creepiest!
posted by jillithd at 11:31 AM on June 18, 2011




Half-Life 3! a man can dream, *sob*
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2011


The graffiti is far better than the captions. I'd like to see more of that, please. Captions are rarely necessary, especially not for this type of collection. Photojournalism, this ain't.

"Twisted dreams and scattered screams at abandoned 6 Flags"

Twisted dreams? What does this mean?

You can tell about halfway through the caption writer started to get bored ...

At least a few of the shots aren't overdone with HDR. It's like looking at the most over-saturated photo postcards after a bad print run.

I get the thrill of urban exploration and have done some of that myself, before anyone called it that. This looks like the kind of place I'd have wanted to take psychedelics with a group of friends.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:47 PM on June 19, 2011


And here's a short film shot there.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:06 PM on June 20, 2011


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