Natural Disasters

Spooky Halloween Post: Louisiana's Real-Life Ghost Towns


Last month I went down to Mississippi for a hearing in the Cory Maye case.  Because the hearing was in Poplarville, near the Louisiana border, I stayed in New Orleans and drove into Mississippi along I-10.  That also happens to be a section of the coast that was socked pretty hard by Hurricane Katrina.

I didn't really notice much the first time I made the trip.  I drove out in the morning.  It was light out, and I passed by neighborhoods, apartment complexes, strip malls, and big box stores, and didn't really pick up on what I was actually seeing.

On the way back, it was nearly dusk.  That's when I noticed that though it was only about 8pm, none of the buildings along the Interstate appeared to be lit.

The next morning when I drove back to the Mississippi for the second day of the hearing, I took a closer look, and snapped a few photos (apologies for the quality -- I took them from the car as I drove by).  As you can see, there are still entire neighborhoods, shopping centers, malls, and apartment buildings that are completely abandoned.  Suburbanite ghost towns.

What's weird is that because most of the destruction was done by water, from a distance it appeared that everyone had simply left otherwise normal-looking towns.  If you hadn't known about Katrina, it would appear that entire populations of people had simply vanished.  Signs are still intact.  Cars still sit abandoned in the street. 

The creepiest sight was an abandoned amusement park.  According to the highway signs, it was a Six Flags.

I took some pictures in the less-depressing (but still nowhere near what it once was) French Quarter, too.  Those are posted here. The Katrina-themed t-shirts they're selling on Bourbon Street show the city at least has a sense of humor about its demise.

NEXT: Witches, Vampires, and Labor Law

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. …though it was only about 8pm, there didn’t appear none of the buildings along the Interstate were lit.

    Picked up some of the regional dialect down there, eh Radley?

    In all seriousness, thanks for posting these pics, as well as the ones on the Agitator. I think a lot of us need to be reminded of what has to be the death of one of the country’s most historic and culturally significant regions.

  2. the death of one of the country’s most historic and culturally significant regions.

    New Orleans was (parts still are?) a beautiful city, but it is driving me crazy that I read this right underneath photos of an abandoned amusement park of all things.

  3. Wanted: Homesteaders!


    Seriously- what the fuck is going on down there? Are the property owners fighting with the insurance companies, or are they just sitting on their hands, waiting for Uncle $am to “make them whole?”

    I have enough land to put in my own roller coaster- I wonder how much they want for it. And there’s no property owners’ association to tell me I can’t.

  4. The creepiest sight was an abandoned amusement park. According to the highway signs, it was a Six Flags.

    I’m glad you resisted the temptation to visit the abandoned Six Flags. Everyone who has ever seen a horror movie, watched an episode of Scooby-Doo, or read an issue of Batman knows that danger and mystery lurk within.

    Have a swinging Samhain, all!


  5. Don’t forget KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park!

  6. Gee – what are the chances that people in a ghost town might be smoking pot. I mean, the emotional depression there must unbleievable.

    What a great use of our tax dollars. I’ll be watching your posts and pulling for young Mr. Maye. It is sad that a good and decent man died but maybe this case can serve as a starting point for some sanity in TWOD and Fourth Amendment rights. If only they could come up with the swearing witness…

  7. Anyone else thinking about zombies?

  8. I can handle slow zombies, the fast one’s scare the hell out of me.

  9. I’m thinking they turn it into an EPIC Dawn of the Dead movie.

  10. Yep that was Six Flags. Very close to where I used to live before the storm, St. Bernard Parish.

    St. Bernard recently passed an ordinance that says you can only rent your property to blood relatives. Interesting things happening down there lately. And by interesting I mean batshit insane.

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few groups of Meddling Kids haven’t been exploring that abandoned Six Flags. Reminds me of my youth when we explored abandoned buildings in Boulder, Colorado. Oh to be young again!

  12. “I think a lot of us need to be reminded of what has to be the death of one of the country’s most historic and culturally significant regions.”

    Most historic and culturally significant? What are you smoking, and why aren’t you sharing? ‘Nawlins was always a hellhole and always will be a hellhole. Crime, graft, corruption, the French, you name it, they had it. Their clame to fame is a bunch of drunk college kids getting nekkid in public; sooo much kulture!

  13. Regarding the abandoned amusement park: I don’t know if this is still true, but as of last summer the city was trying to legally force Six Flags to re-open it (fully staffed), as required by a pre-Katrina contract.

    Those French Quarter photos showing the still-decent parts–before Katrina, I’m wondering if it would even have been possible, to casually stroll through the French Quarter on a sunny (if muggy) day in September and get that many shots of streets completely devoid of people.

  14. P Brooks,
    That part of New Orleans is on the 6 year plan to restore electricity to the city (if my memory serves me correct). The only things open out that way are a Home Depot, a few car dealerships, and a few hotels for the workers helping to clean the place up. All these are right along I-10, if you go just a couple blocks from I-10 you are plunged into complete darkness at night.

    As for property owners, many of the homes were handed down informally from parent to child and thus property records aren’t correct. So the city has no way of knowing who owns the property and what their plans are.

    All in all, a great city to live in.

  15. Actually, Radley the largest segment of these folks who have “abandoned” their towns, homes and businesses are fighting the insurance companies, FEMA and the government in their efforts to rebuild. I have family on the coast and they still have been unable to even begin their rebuilding due to government interference, from the local level all the way up to FEMA.

  16. “‘Nawlins was always a hellhole and always will be a hellhole. Crime, graft, corruption, the French, you name it, they had it.”

    Like he said one of the countries most culturally significant regions!

  17. The view from I-10 of New Orleans East has not changed as much as y’all want to believe.

    Both that mall and the amusement park have been bankupt and lacking activity for years.

    The NOE neighborhoods you didn’t post photos of are indeed devastated, but you have to get off the interstate for full effect.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.