Decaying Building at Pontchartrain Beach

Decaying Building at Pontchartrain BeachIt was another seventy degree day in New Orleans, and I got up early enough to get a nice long ride in before my night class.  Jack and I rode out Elysian Fields, because Googlemaps said there’d be an amusement park at the end.  Now, of course I know better than to think there’s still an amusement park over there, but I just wanted to see what was left there.  After a short argument with a security guard about my rights to bicycle around a parking lot, I found my way to the beach and to this broken-down structure.  It’s overgrown, with a sagging floor and broken roof and a bent metal staircase.  The underside is covered with graffiti.  Pontchartrain Amusement Park was opened in 1928 for “Whites Only,” desegregated in the 1960s, and finally closed in 1983.  I don’t know what this building was, if it was part of the amusement park, or a grandstand, or what.  I wonder what it looked like when it was new.  I wonder who used to come here.  Today there were folks fishing out on the pilings, a couple eating crawfish on a cement slab, and some guys in a back of a pickup truck with a camera, taking pictures, just like me.  I stood out in the sun, thankful that I can ride my bike anywhere I like, and am only a short ten miles from this place.  I left the beach, called S. for directions home, and headed over through Mid-City on Wisner along City Park and Bayou St. John, up Jeff Davis,through Central City back Uptown.  Perfect.

14 thoughts on “Decaying Building at Pontchartrain Beach

    • I remember when the Rajun Cajun opened – my neighbor was the architect who designed it. The ride was “cutting edge” back in the day! I remember the restraint bar locking me in on my first ride like it was yesterday! I recall being surprised at the smooth ride – exciting but almost disappointing because it wasn’t noisy and rickety like the old Zephyr. Great memories!

  1. Kate, that is the old building where the roller coaster “The rajun cajun” loaded and un-loaded riders. It was modelled after a cajun style home. It was not taken down when the roller coaster was removed in the 1980s.

  2. Thank you, Pat. I was looking all over the internet for the story–cheers.

    I want a roller coaster back! Did you ride it?

  3. I rode it too. Richard you probably helped me get on and off. Part of my childhood that is sorely, sorely missed. Thanks for helping me blow the dust off of the memories.

  4. Yep. Definitely the old Ragin’ Cajun ride. I’m surprised they still have that up. I actually have photos somewhere in my closet of that structure from the last weekend it was open. I worked there in the summer of 1983. I had just graduated high school and would be attending UNO in the fall. I worked in “Kiddie Land”, operating the little boats, the Red Baron planes, etc. Sometimes, I’d even get to operate the “Magic Rainbow”. I remember that Ragin’ Cajun seemed like such a cool, scary rollercoaster back in the day. Now, that I live near Universal Studios, and my kids ride the huge coasters there, the R.C. pails in comparison.

    But, I do have a bunch of photos I took on the last weekend of many of the rides. In fact, that weekend, Fats Domino, the Neville Brothers (or maybe the Meters), Wang Chung and Iron Butterfly played concerts on the small stage near the lake!!! I got to hang out on stage during Fats’ set and realized I was standing right behind Elvis Costello! I’m not kidding.

    Thanks for the chance to reminisce.

  5. I remember the Rajun Cajun coaster as well. Also, another ride that I can’t remember the name of, but at DisneyLand I believe they would call it the cups-and-saucers ride. At Ponchatrain it was in a large building (a dome, I think) that was painted black inside with flashing lights. Seems like there was a lot of loud music blaring, too.

      • it was “the hard rock”. it had a spinning platform, under that fake rock dome, that tilted, with cars mounted on it, that spun, as you pulled the car around, using the stationary “steering wheel” to turn the car as fast as you could, while the bee gee’s “staying alive” blared from the speakers, and it often reeked of vomit. i loved that ride, though. it always comes to mind, whenever i recall that wonderful part of my childhood that was lived out, at pontchartrain beach.

  6. For those of you who remember the roller coaster, or Pontchartrain Beach as an amusement park, I am currently doing a research project at UNO about the park and would love to have some interviews. You can contact me at crcapdev@uno.edu. Thanks.

  7. Oh ! I have many great memories of the Rajun Cajun ride and Pontchartrain Beach .What a great place to be especially at night . I also ride my bike out there quite often . I look at that old decaying building and so many memories come flooding back , i try to remember where all the rides and attractions were,when I’m out there ,glad to see the light house is still there.
    Rickey C

  8. I worked there also back in 1976 as a summer job. Way cool.
    I was in the gaming section, where I would blow up balloons for the crowd to throw darts at, keep a steady hand enticing people in to try and move a loop across a wire in order to win( I got so good at that and proved it daily). , and also was a barker that could guess your age,weight, or birthday within two years, two lbs or two months. Very fun for a 16 year old. I was good. Loved the rides after work and the staff, except the owner. He was a douche bag. Good memories.
    Glad I decided to go to medical school though. It certainly would have been my second choice

  9. yep, it was the loading/unloading platform for the ragin cajun roller coaster….which replaced the Galaxi roller coaster

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.