By Joy Hirdes
They were guilty of trespassing, handed a summons by police and told to leave. But they had no intention of committing any offense.
They simply wanted inside of what is left of Six Flags New Orleans, the former Jazzland Theme Park, in east New Orleans.
It must be tough for a multi-talented group of artists, all carnival and circus types, to slowly watch an amusement park die.
And for Tonya Armbruster, a local photographer, well, she thought the ruins of the old amusement park would make a spectacular backdrop for a photo shoot to showcase the troops talents.
And it did.
But first it took getting inside.
The grand amusement park, once featuring rides such as the Mega Zeph, Ozarka Splash and The Big Easy, has been shuttered since Hurricane Katrina floodwaters overwhelmed the place in August of 2005.
Last year, city officials gave the green light to investors to turn the land into an upscale outlet mall with adjacent amusement park, however, nothing has developed since.
So one day, the artsy troop decided to make their way in, during the day, when the light was ripe for picture taking.
œIt's all opened and abandoned and we actually made it nicer, said Lorelei Ashe, a local aerialist who was part of the team. œThere was trash everywhere, we actually cleaned up a lot.
œIt's all graffiti and run down, definitely dilapidated and trashed, she added. œYou can tell kids have been drinking in there, making out in there, having a party in there.
œThank God none of us were arrested.
This crew of determined individuals, most of them professionals in various fields as well as warehouse district residents, also included a fire breather, a contortionist, and a hand balancer. They got the job done.
Some say the pictures are haunting. Others say liberating. One of them, a filmmaker, even shot a documentary of the entire thing.
œWe want people to get a better understanding of why we do what we do, Ashe said. œWe were facing our fears in an abandoned park.
Trespass is now a reality and will be brought to life on Saturday, January 26, as an art opening, a documentary screening and a live performance event by the group will take place at the St. Joe Lofts in the Warehouse District. The public is invited and admission is free.
œWe are all dedicated to doing more art in New Orleans and having that change New Orleans for the better, Ashe said. œWe want this open to the public and we want it free.
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Trespass -- Art Opening, Live Performance by the Troop and a Documentary Screening
St. Joe Art Lofts
923 Constance Street in the Warehouse District
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Doors open at 7
Show starts at 8
Live music and carnival snacks will be provided by Nola Brewery and New Orleans Ice Cream
For more information, contact St. Joe Lofts at 504.256.5678 or Joy Hirdes at firstname.lastname@example.org.