WATCH: An exclusive look inside a shuttered Six Flags park. Can it be salvaged?

The park puts off an almost eerie feel.


The old Zephyr roller coast at the shuttered Six Flags site is visible from several vantage points in New Orleans East.

But inside these busted up entry gates, the damage to the more than 250-acre park is far worse than one can imagine.

Sister station WDSU got an exclusive look at what's inside with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

When you come to the main entrance, most of the gates are busted open, and lightbulbs have been knocked out.

The park puts off an almost eerie feel.

On the boardwalk, the "Beach Bang" bumper cars are flooded out and flipped over.

A byproduct of Hurricane Katrina — and almost zero upkeep.

Rides that kids and young adults once enjoyed are decaying and rusting.

The "Ozarka Splash Park" ride is overgrown.

The "Batman Adventure" is barely standing.

The "Backlot Bus Tour Ride" has taken a back seat to rust and dust.

The music has stopped on the "Zedeco Zinger Swings."

And inside the "Main Street Metropolitan Building," the old stage is all but destroyed.

Buildings once filled with a feeling of fun and excitement are now covered in graffiti and dilapidated.

But despite these conditions, Cantrell has hope.

"Even though we're standing in a blighted area, do you see promise when you look at this?" WDSU asked Cantrell during an exclusive tour of the facility.

"I see promise when I look at this, and I see promise beyond this. I see a real gateway as an entry point to New Orleans through New Orleans East," said Cantrell.

The mayor's big motivation: The city owns this land. WDSU was the first local news crew allowed by the city into the park in almost 15 years.

The site employs a nuisance wildlife trapper.

There are 22 alligators on-site, with dozens of large snakes and large wild boars.

And while the city is paying for 24/7 security, which costs more than $10,000 a month, more than 25 films and TV shows have used the site for on-location shoots in recent years, which does generate some small revenue for the city.

"We own it and we can control it — and this is the best step forward for redevelopment of the east," said Cantrell.

But it won't come cheap — the price tag could be $50-100 million.

Cantrell isn't the first mayor to try and redevelop this property.

Six Flags declined to re-open following flooding from Katrina in 2005.

Previous administrations tried, with little to no success, to find a development partner.

And the ideas back then were all over the map.

"The retail mixed-use will be the first thing to be built," said one developer in 2017.

Others suggested a new theme park and concert venue.

But in the end, the city couldn't find anyone with a viable idea and enough cash to foot the bill

"I do not want to go back to the community with pie-in-the-sky projects that are not real," said Cantrell.

So her administration is taking a different approach.

"So it was our priority to make sure that developers came to the table ready with the financing, ready with a vision, ready with the capacity to get this done now. So no more waiting," said Cantrell.

And a city selection committee is moving fast.

In March, members picked three proposals for further consideration.

A development partner could be selected by the city in the next 90 days.

One of the pitched ideas came from newly retired Saints quarterback Drew Brees, along with current linebacker Demario Davis.

Their concept: an "agricultural innovation hub" at its core, and a state-of-the-art facility for urban farming.

Additional elements in the plan include an interactive education lab with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math and a "holistic and natural healing center."

And the decision to redevelop is an about-face for Cantrell.

Just two years ago her administration explored the idea of spending $1.3 million to demolish the entire park, leaving people in the nearby Maple Ridge subdivision scratching their heads.

"Our property in the Maple Ridge subdivision benefits on what they put there in the future," said one resident.

But now the mayor is set on breathing new life into this dormant amusement park.

"We're excited because they're viable and real — this isn't pie in the sky, they have what it takes to turn this into a real investment for our city and our people," said Cantrell.