Episode 140: The Upstairs Lounge, A Fire in the Vieux Carré

Fifty years ago there was a tragic fire in New Orleans’s French Quarter at a bar with a largely gay clientele called the Upstairs Lounge. There were 32 deaths. Documentary maker Royd Anderson joins Louisiana Life Executive Editor Errol Laborde, along with podcast producer Kelly Massicot to talk about the disaster, which had a galvanizing effect on the gay community. The suspected arsonist, who himself was gay, reportedly admitted to a couple of people that he had set the fire. He would later commit suicide. Investigations would show that his action was not anti-gay but touched off by another incident. The fire was one of several in the French Quarter’s history and the most deadly. Hear about what was learned from the incident.

upstairs lounge

Original photo: AP Photo/Jack Thornell


Categories: Louisiana Insider