NEW ORLEANS — We're approaching the 16-year mark since Hurricane Katrina left the Six Flags site abandoned, but Tuesday we were expecting to learn what would take its place.
Instead, two proposals moved forward.
Members of a group called "New Orleans East Matters" held their own day-long watch party to learn what redevelopment proposal would replace the abandoned amusement park.
A decision was expected to be made by the panel of city leaders, but two proposals advanced. They listened to hours of public comments that were largely in favor of Bayou Phoenix. That's a proposal led in part by local businessman and New Orleans East resident Troy Henry. It calls for a water park, hotel, sports complex and travel center.
"Job creation, revenue generating income and a destination. Bayou Phoenix provides all of that," said Tangee Wall, President of New Orleans East Matters.
The other main contender is Kiernan West and S.H.I.E.L.D. 1. That one is backed by Drew Brees and Saints Linebacker Demario Davis. The project hopes to build an urban farm, educational centers, and transportation hub.
What everyone agrees on is something needs to be done and a decision needs to finally be made.
"It's a huge milestone for us even to have something that's a possibility to happen in the East," said Jennifer Johnson, a member of New Orleans East Matters.
"It would be ideal for something to happen there soon and we could bring more people back into the city," said Pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church. "Let's make it happen. It's time. It's time. It's time"
The city run panel advanced two of the three proposals. They rated Kiernan West and S.H.I.E.L.D. 1 top and Bayou Phoenix second. The third option, Situs Development Collective, is out of the running.
The finalists will have the next month to push for their idea before the panel picks one or decides to combine ideas.
"Our grading system from the community grades it different. Obviously, Bayou Phoenix won from a community standpoint," Wall said.
City officials have 30 days to hear from both teams and make a decision.