The Upstairs Lounge Fire:Deadliest Mass Killing of LGBT People In U.S. History

Make time to read Diane Anderson-Minshall's excellent in-depth Advocate story about a tragic fire at The Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973. Even more horrific than the 32 patrons killed was the silence, disgust and shame in its aftermath; politicians didn't offer public sympathy, religious leaders refused mourners and many families refused to claim the bodies of their dead children. The fire also drove many in the Big Easy's LGBT community further into the closet.

Fortunately, the story is now being told through two films--The Upstairs Lounge Fire and Upstairs Inferno--an art installation, Clay Delery's book The UpStairs Lounge Arson: Thirty-two Deaths in a New Orleans Gay Bar, June 24, 1973 and Upstairs, a musical. You can also read about the fire in Johnny Townsend's Let The Faggots Burn, which contains the first-hand accounts of many survivors. Watch the trailer for both films and archive footage of CBS's coverage of the fire below.