PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS
Bringing an Abandoned Amusement Park Back to Life
After escaping from the thrashing sea monster, the Charybdis, Percy and his friends realize they are approaching Polyphemus' Island. When they disembark to explore the strange, desolate place, they discover an abandoned amusement park called "Circeland." Built by the sorceress Circe, the park closed on opening day after it was discovered that Polyphemus, the island's resident Cyclops, was eating park visitors.
When the filmmakers began discussing possible locations for Polyphemus' Island and "Circeland," one of the first suggestions was Six Flags Jazzland Amusement Park in East New Orleans, which had been closed permanently in 2005 due to the extensive damage it suffered in Hurricane Katrina. Shortly thereafter, Six Flags declared the park a total loss and closed it permanently. The city of New Orleans took over management of the property.
In the seven years since the park's closure, nature had reclaimed many areas, with thick brush and weeds creeping across partially collapsed roofs, shattered lights and windows, shuttered theme rides and broad concrete walkways. Layers of spray painting and graffiti covered what remained. The existing lagoons and lakes, built for the long-defunct water rides and sitting stagnant for years, made the park look every bit like the creepy, faded island filmmakers envisioned.
Jazzland was a perfect "Circeland."
The filmmakers targeted several areas of the park, including the Mega Zeph roller coaster, the adjacent Pontchartrain Beach area, Cajun Country and the Ozark Splash Ride. They cleared the dense growth from these main areas and set about removing scores of the real-life sea "monsters" -- alligators and snakes -- that populated the park.
The massive job of powering the park and lighting up Jazzland the first time since Katrina struck in August 2005 required record-setting monster wattage. It took more than three weeks, 11 electricians and 24 grips working every day just to prepare the rides, structures and amusement park area sets for shooting.
On each of those 14 nights, the production lit up the long-darkened Jazzland and the East New Orleans sky. The brilliant glow of the million-plus-wattage could be seen from miles around, startling late-night and pre-dawn motorists on the adjacent interstate highways and sparking rumors the park was preparing to re-open. After filming wrapped at the park, a Texas Development Group announced it had taken out a two-year lease on the property, beginning in September 2012, to see if the 400,000-square-foot area could be developed into a combination outlet mall and amusement park.
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