Episode Sixteen: The Upstairs Lounge Arson

Episode Sixteen: The Upstairs Lounge Arson

On June 24, 1973, a flash fire tore through a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. In less than 20 minutes, 32 people were killed, dozens more critically injured and the ones who managed to escape watched helplessly as friends and lovers burned to death before their eyes. It is believed to be the largest killing of gay people in U.S. history until in 2015, when at least 50 people were shot and killed at an Orlando gay nightclub. Yet politicians and religious leaders were relatively silent. The powerful Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans at the time, did not offer his support or sympathy to victims. And while all signs pointed to arson, the police investigation ran cold. No one has ever been prosecuted.

Some of our research

The story

Ferris LeBlanc’s story

The book

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