I have always had a love for anything that is abandoned or left behind. Now that I have access to the internet, I have spent hours combing through the different websites that have images of these places that once bustled with activity that through disasters, hard economic times, or just simply lack of care, has ceased.
Some of the images are disturbing…but I have to say the biggest chills came from seeing what was left of places that were once meccas of entertainment and fun..amusement parks.
One park that has recently been abandoned from the devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought is Six Flags over New Orleans. A friend of mine who lives in the area brought up the very good point that the park had been placed in an extremely unstable section of the city to begin with…and it was in no way ready for the damages that Katrina brought.
The rides where patrons once stood in line for hours just to scream and thrill for a few minutes sit silent and rotting. The roller coasters that once provided heart-stopping moments for its riders stand abandoned and covered in rust. Oversized caricatures that used to give the rides and the park color and character now seem like ghoulish clowns forever mocking the silence.
There are no definitive plans at this time for what to do with the remains of the amusement park. It is an eyesore now…a sad and eerie ruin amidst a city that has seen far too much devastation. Many of the rides that could be salvaged were removed, while the rest remain to be claimed by the elements.
I found a photosharing website that had a photographic tour of Six Flags Over New Orleans as it stands today. As I looked over them, I thought of what it must have looked like when the Mardis Gras statue looked out over the visitors to the park with lights all around and the laughter everywhere. When the whirring sounds of the motors for the rides were going non-stop…and the smells of carnival food wafted through the air.
Now the characters look both forlorn and menacing, many of them broken and vandalized. The Mardis Gras statue has a grin that seems to have twisted into an evil grimace, mocking the silence that now permeates the air. And with each passing year, and nothing done…it is only a matter of time before the elements completely reclaim the once opulent and joyful amusement park.
I imagine on a quiet night…if you listen hard enough….it could be possible to hear the laughter and screams that once made this place alive.