NEW ORLEANS – Just days after retiring from the game, Super Bowl-winning Saints QB Drew Brees is bringing his superstar status to a plan to redevelop the old Six Flags/Jazzland in New Orleans East.
A non-profit group called “S.H.I.E.L.D 1” –formed by Brees with NFL players Demario Davis and Josh Norman– has joined a Colorado developer, Kiernan West Real Estate. Together, they propose an “Agriculture Innovation Hub” to replace the abandoned rides and crumbling infrastructure of the former amusement park.
Both Jazzland and Six Flags struggled to attract visitors in the early 2000’s. Jazzland was taken over by Six Flags, and after Hurricane Katrina damaged the park in 2005, Six Flags moved out. The nearly 300- acre area has been abandoned since then, and numerous ideas to return the site to commercial use never panned out.
According to the formal proposal submitted by Brees and the development team, “S.H.I.E.L.D. 1” stands for “supporting humanity through investing and economic and legislative development.”
The proposal envisions teaching young people farming techniques, including aquaponics and fish farming, to create jobs and supply food for needy neighborhoods. The project would be intended to benefit farmers, small businesses, faith-based organizations and trade schools, among other groups.
Although the goal is primarily not for profit, the proposal claims that the Agriculture Hub will become an “agriculture theme park… (that will) attract tourism worldwide.”
The New Orleans Office of Economic Development, which requested proposals, rated the S.H.I.E.L.D 1- Kiernan West proposal higher than the proposals of two other development teams, both of which propose a mix of retail and other entertainment venues.
All three proposals will be discussed by various city departments, before the winning proposal is announced. The S.H.I.E.L.D. 1 – Kiernan West plan suggests it would take 18 months to build the facilities.