Louisiana, New Orleans Upstairs Bar fire 24/06/1973

Family solves mystery after learning uncle died in infamous Up Stairs Lounge Fire 40-plus years ago in New Orleans

A family mystery is solved when relatives learn a long-missing uncle died in the infamous UpStairs Lounge Fire in 1973


After Pride-goers close out a weekend full of performances, parading, and celebrating, the LGBT community will memorialize a sorrowful time in New Orleans’ history. Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the Upstairs Lounge Fire, an arson attack on the city’s LGBT community in 1973 that left 32 people dead. 

UpStairs Lounge fire provokes powerful memories 40 years later

The UpStairs Lounge fire: a remembrance Forty years ago on June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the UpStairs Lounge, a popular gay bar on the corner of Iberville and Chartres Streets. 32 people died in the blaze and no one was ever arrested or convicted for the crime. We explore the event through eye witnesses and experts in this video.

Revisiting a Deadly Arson Attack on a New Orleans Gay Bar on Its 42nd Anniversary

The fire that killed 32 people at the Upstairs lounge has been largely forgotten, but documentarian Robert Camina wants to make us remember.

Unknown Victim of Deadly 1973 Arson in Gay Bar Finally Identified

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the UpStairs Lounge arson, an event that was the largest mass murder of gay people in U.S. history for over four decades — until the Pulse massacre.

Report to the President for the White House Conference On Hate Crimes

Prepared by:
The Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry
Moderator, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson
Vice Moderator, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

Remembering the Up Stairs Lounge: upcoming memorials and panels

This week’s cover story about the Up Stairs Lounge fire that killed 32 people in the French Quarter in 1973 drew some discussion online, from those who were surprised they’d never heard of the tragedy to others who remember it well.

The Horror Upstairs

Francis Dufrene lived for Sunday nights. tall and lean with a pile of blond hair, the 21-year-old would take two buses from his home in the New Orleans suburbs to make it to the Upstairs Lounge by 5 p.m., when the French Quarter bar held its weekly beer bust–two hours of all-you-can-drink drafts for $1.

Remembering the Worst Mass Killing of LGBT People in U.S. History

When Duane Mitchell was 11 years old, he and his 8-year-old brother, Steve, loved visiting their dad, George, then a divorced beauty supply salesman in New Orleans. The Big Easy in the 1970s was a different world compared to where they lived with their mom in northeast Alabama. Though the divorce was amicable, it was always hard for the boys to get enough time with their dad during the school year.

25th Anniversary Memorial Service

On Wednesday, June 24, 1998, members of the Gay and Gay friendly community meet together to remember and celebrate the lives of these victims. In 1973, only one member of the New Orleans’ clergy, The Rev. William Richardson of St. George’s Episcopal Church, was brave and GOD loving enough to immediately hold a service for the victims of this horriffic event and their families. Almost a week later, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church allowed Rev. Perry to hold a memorial service. In 1998, representatives from varied religions and Christian denominations took part in the Memorial Service held at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Grand Ball Room. Gathering with the Gay community to celebrate the lives of those who perished were The Rev. Carole Cotton Winn, District Superintentant of the United Methodist Church, Senior Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn of Temple Sinai, Rev. Kay Thomas from Grace Fellowship in Christ Jesus, The Honorable Troy Carter, City Councilman, and thirty-two members of the New Orleans’ community who represented the thirty-two persons who died in the fire.

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