Comments

  1. jim says

    Wish they’d reopen the case and find out who started the fire. Based on the footage, doesn’t sound like the “arson investigation” lasted more then a blnk. Amazed that neither reporter mentioned that it was a church service going on in the space at the time of the fire, saying only that it was a bar and was “frequented by homosexuals.”

  2. Erich says

    I had never heard about this tragic incident before today, and I lived in the New Orleans area for six years. I can’t believe that people aren’t more aware of what happened.

  3. says

    There are a number of theories about the arsonist — a jilted lover, a banned patron, and a couple of others. Nothing ever came of them.

    The gay community here remembers the event, though. A plaque commemorating the tragedy was installed a few years back, and artist Skylar Fein did an amazing installation about it for the biennial, which subsequently did some traveling (http://blog.nola.com/dougmaccash/2008/11/fein_pages.html). If you ever have the chance to see it, do.

  4. says

    There are a number of theories about the arsonist — a jilted lover, a banned patron, and a couple of others. Nothing ever came of them.

    The gay community here remembers the event, though. A plaque commemorating the tragedy was installed a few years back, and artist Skylar Fein did an amazing installation about it for the biennial, which subsequently did some traveling (http://blog.nola.com/dougmaccash/2008/11/fein_pages.html). If you ever have the chance to see it, do.

  5. MarkUs says

    I lived in New Orleans and though under 10 years old I can remember LIVE coverage of it when it happened. I believe that same year was the Rault Center fire and the Howard Johnson’s hotel sniper.

  6. Caliban says

    I don’t know if he was ever jailed, but I thought the arsonist was determined to be a hustler who had been ejected from the bar earlier that night. That’s what I recall reading anyway. Is that not true?

  7. redball says

    the news clip mentioned something like “homosexuals often carry fake identification papers so the bodies can not be identified at this point.”

    for real?

    didn’t know that, although it seems plausible given that we were often arrested, at least in some places like NYC for merely frequenting a gay bar in the olden days.

  8. RP4 says

    I want to add to the chorus of shock at never having heard of this extremely sad and horrifying event this before, and I was a conscious human being when the incident took place.

    Some outstanding wrongs need to be righted here. The victims deserve remembrance. And the story, including about the media, public, and police response deserve publicity. (Was law motivated not motivated to find somehow who killed 32 people?) It’s an object lesson in dehumanization.

    1973 wasn’t that long ago. (I remember it well, myself.)

    Is there even a plaque about it in New Orleans?

    There is probably a great deal of research about it that could and should be done. It seems like it could be a very worthy project of a history department of a university in the area.

  9. Donald says

    Maybe as a remembrance, everyone make an online donation to the GLBT Historical Society so events like this won’t be lost to our future generations.

  10. Charlie says

    Unlike other commenters I have heard of this. I was unaware that this was a church groups meeting at the time of the fire. There are other arsons against MCC churches as well.

    In fact I think of this event every time a black pastors says that gay rights are not like civil rights because they haven’t been killed like the people killed in the notorious Birmingham church bombing in the civil rights era. Of course gay people are not likely to be found in churches so it is unlikely that there would be an exactly comparable event. We get nothing but bullying and abuse from most Christian churches. Who needs that?

  11. Drew Z says

    It wasn’t actually a church service. The members of the MCC would gather there after their service. Or so says my partner who later was friends with surviving members of the MCC who weren’t at the bar that night.

  12. Brad says

    I remember this very well. I was in my twenties, saw it on the news and felt so terrible. I told my family about it. What I got back was a bored “hmmm”, as if those killed somehow deserved it. It was a major breaking point between my family and me. It took many years to forgive them.

  13. peterparker says

    RICHARD posted above regarding artist Skylar Fein’s exhibition covering The Upstairs Lounge. I had the opportunity to see it in New York City thanks to Andy Towle’s coverage of it here on towleroad. It was heartbreaking.

  14. MB says

    Every year while at Decadence I go by this building and pay my respects. If you are near the Monteleone Hotel, walk a block until you find the eatery Evelyn’s Place and the lounge was on the second floor. There is a memorial plaque in the sidewalk. It is a very eerie site.

  15. Elaygee says

    This is the same city where the police force were hired off duty to rob banks, do contract murders and as recently as Hurrican Katrina, shoot innocent survivors in the back for fun.

  16. GraphicJack says

    Andy Towle and Brandon K. Thorp. Please ban Uffda from your site. His/her “comments” are offensive and incite violence and are completely inappropriate.

    And thank you for posting this article. It’s important to never forget our history.

  17. MaryAnne says

    I remember reading about this in a Chicago newspaper. It broke my heart that someone could do such an inhumane act. Hopefully soon I can get to N.O. to pay my respects.

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