After UpStairs Lounge fire, gay and straight New Orleans changed: Frank Perez | NOLA.com

UPSTAIRS LOUNGE FIRE

The deadliest fire in New Orleans history occurred on June 24, 1973. On that night, an unruly patron was thrown out of the UpStairs Lounge, which was located at the corner of Iberville and Chartres streets. About 30 minutes after being ejected from the bar, the patron returned and deliberately set the stairwell on fire. Thirty-two people died as a result of the arson.

The police and fire department responses were nonchalant and no arrest was made in the case, even though authorities knew who set the fire. Mayor Moon Landrieu, nor any other government official, had anything to say about the tragedy. Churches were either silent or subtly suggested the victims deserved what they got. Today, the fire remains largely forgotten.

After UpStairs Lounge fire, gay and straight New Orleans changed: Frank Perez | NOLA.com.

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About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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