A stirring article concerning the Upstairs Lounge Fire, written and researched by our friends at Yat Lagniappe.
On a Sunday afternoon on June 24, 1973, around sixty patrons were drinking at the Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. At 7:56pm, the buzzer that signaled a cab sounded. The man that opened the steel door was greeted by a hurling Molotov cocktail that quickly engulfed the staircase and spread in seconds. Thirty-two men were brutally murdered; most burned alive. It is the largest known massacre of homosexuals in our nation’s history.
The Upstairs Lounge was temporarily hosting the New Orleans chapter of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the nation’s first gay church. The MCC churches in Los Angeles and Nashville were set aflame earlier that year, but no deaths. New Orleans’ gay community mostly existed underground. The French Quarter had around two dozen gay bars, but they certainly never advertised as such. Open gay pride parades had not yet reached the city. Southern Decadence…
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