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Two Finalists Will Vie For Development At The Former Six Flags Site In New Orleans East

Erik Jorgensen
Flickr Creative Commons
A roller coaster on the site where Six Flags amusement in New Orleans East used to operate. Nov. 25, 2012.

A public committee has narrowed future plans for the former Six Flags New Orleans site down to two proposals.

Many of the more than 300 public comments submitted to the committee hours before a virtual meeting via Zoom pledged support for a project by a group of developers called Bayou Phoenix, which seeks to put a logistics hub, travel center, water park, sports complex and hotel on the site. The group said that the logistics center could attract tenants like Amazon or Walmart.

Commenters stressed the need for family-friendly entertainment in New Orleans East.

Committee members — among them New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano, Chief Financial Officer Norman White, Director of Community Assets and Investment Nicole Heyman, Director of Economic Development Jeff Schwartz, and Office of Economic Development Policy and Program Manager Courtney Stuckwisch Wong — reviewed three proposals and scored each potential development based on a range of criteria.

A proposal from developer Kiernan West and S.H.I.E.L.D. 1 foundation — started by former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Saints linebacker Demario Davis and Buffalo Bills cornerback Joshua Norman — to build an urban farm, a group of educational centers, and a transportation and logistics hub at the location scored the highest with the committee.

Bayou Phoenix received the next highest ranking, and a proposal for a water park, market-rate housing, and space for retail from Situs Development Collective Consulting group scored the lowest and did not advance to the next round of consideration.

The committee is allowing the two finalists one month to fine tune their proposals to better comply with the public’s request for entertainment.

“I would recommend to the committee that we move forward with the top two candidates and issue some level of RFP (request for proposal) to blend some sort of opportunity where we have a public benefit coupled with an economic driver,” New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano said. “We’d like to … really refine some of the community input that we heard via this conversation about the desires to have some level of entertainment.”

Bobbi-Jeanne Misick is the justice, race and equity reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between NPR, WWNO in New Orleans, WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama and MPB-Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson. She is also an Ida B. Wells Fellow with Type Investigations at Type Media Center.

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