Paul: The Upstairs Lounge…



This is kind of a Debbie-Downer thing to post about but recent events have made me very politically focused right now, and I think it’s very important for us to know our history. The upstairs lounge was a gay bar in New Orleans that in 1973 was the scene of the mass murder of 29 people with 15 seriously injured. I think it’s a story that needs to be told, and I was surprised that I never heard it before. Why aren’t kids taught this in school?

If you’re in New Orleans or going there soon, check out Skylar Fein’s multimedia installation. It tells the story and also celebrates the people who were lost. You can look at picures here.

For me it’s very troubling that there was a prime suspect for the arsonist and the police declined to dilligently investigate so that he could be found and prosecuted. There’s a good chance that the person who did this is still walking around free. Only one church agreed to hold a memorial for the victims. Attendees were told to leave quietly through a back door to avoid the press waiting outside.  All of those attending chose to instead walk through the front entrance, facing the media gead on.

Below is the only national tv coverage of the incident…


5 Responses to “Paul: The Upstairs Lounge…”

  1. 1 The Bearded Traveler
    December 10, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    I had never heard about this incident.

  2. 2 gaycondo
    December 11, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    That truly is an amazing installation. Sad.

  3. December 16, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    never heard of it… my gf is going down to new orleans next week, i’m sending her to watch and report back to me.

  4. 4 ColeWake
    December 17, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    I am a journalist who has done some recent research about the fire. The prime suspect was a petty thief who had been thrown out of the bar. He had made a threat on his way out. The police interviewed him but let him go. I’ve read the transcripts. I think there might even have been witness that saw him buying the same brand lighter fluid that night that was found in the stairwell. The suspect late committed suicide.

    Here is a quick narrative I did about the night.


  5. 5 Wes
    December 4, 2009 at 10:28 am

    There were a total of 32 deaths, being that 3 more died at the hospital.

    According to other more recent posting on the net, a documentary is now in post-production and there is a book in the works (the first attempt at a book, a decade ago, was unsuccessful in getting published)

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