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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Jazzland - the haunting abandoned park

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when Katrina rolled through New Orleans, the Jazzland theme park was one of the multitude of casualties. 

i came to this very park when i was 15.  i remember riding all these now-defunct rides, and sweating and wilting in the unbelievable heat.  i remember eating an ice-cream cone as it melted down my arm.

in the south, because of the high humidity, any day can easily feel 10 degrees (or more!) hotter than the actual temperature.  (for example, tomorrow's high is 92, but the heat index will be 100.)
in a theme park covered in concrete, the heat shimmers.  temperatures rise even higher.

yesterday, some photographer friends and i sneaked into the abandoned Jazzland.  we arrived at high noon, when the sun is almost unbearable.  i am sunburned, covered in scratches from crashing through the overgrown plants, and the bugs ate me alive.  it was SO worth it. 

i post some incredibly awful pictures on this blog, but believe it or not, i used to be a paid photographer.  i have rolls and rolls of film waiting to be developed, at such a time when i can afford it.  i'm in desperate need of a DSLR, which is why my photography has been put on hold - no one will hire a film photographer these days. 

but i took my good camera AND my regular digital camera into the park - and we had a blast. 

oh yes, that is definitely me climbing the roller coaster.  surprisingly not as hard as i thought it might have been.  

for the record, i was standing in the bottom of the loop-de-loop, where the track crosses.

these cars are going nowhere, now.  they're covered in dust.

even the most sturdy tarps were in shreds.  some of the colors are still bright, but everything in the park is in ruins.

the graffiti artists have also flocked to the park, along with the photographers, and some of the pieces are really good.

i wanted to climb the ferris wheel, but the heat got to us long before we made it to that side of the park.

when you see the rides from afar, the still look as if they might jolt into action any second.

even though there is ample evidence of people coming to the park, it still retains this dead feeling.  although while we were there, we encountered a group of people on four-wheelers and dirt bikes, making loops around the park.  i'm sure they were having a blast.

we also found plenty of evidence that there have been squatters at the park.  we found piles of blankets, and even a refrigerator.  tons of beer bottles.  but then, anyone could come and drink at the park.  i wouldn't pick it as a place to get drunk, though; there's way too much glass lying around.

there were amazing old signs lying around.

this one was in very good condition, all things considered.

i don't know what this used to be, but look - you can see the signs of flooding on the side.

most of the buildings reek of mold and mildew.  it's all in the wood, of course, not to mention all the fabric, like the velvet curtains i found lying all over the building here, which had a stage.

i found this to be one of the most perplexing things i found.  the box doesn't show any signs of water damage, and it's all very clean - who knows where it came from.  it looked almost like someone had just put it there days ago.  i didn't snag one of these cups - but maybe next time.  i'm certainly going to go back.

these swings were my favorite ride at the park, besides all the roller coasters, for i am an adrenaline junkie. the swings are all still functional for the most part.  not even gonna lie - i got in one and swung around for a bit.

 even though some rides in the park are really faded, this is still beautiful.  look at the details on the top - all the gorgeous paintings.

out of all the rides in the park, i think this is the most tragic one, in that it should really be renovated.  it's still in such good shape.

the view from one of the swings.

many of the rides look like you could still climb on them, and they might work, if the park had electricity.

i considered climbing in the one of the bumpers cars...

the spiderwebs deterred me.  for i am oh so afraid of spiders.

stairway to nowhere, now. 

i'm going back.  soon.  if anyone in NOLA wants to go with us... we can caravan.

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