Remember the UpStairs Lounge arson attack

Arson is a crime that leaves a wake of devastation wherever it travels. Often, arson is used as a tool for hate, as some people decide to burn the entirety of what someone loves or has worked for simply because of personal differences. When arson occurs for these kinds of reasons, the results can be fatal.


On June 24th, 1973, New Orleans was the setting for one of this century’s worst arson massacres and hate crimes. The UpStairs Lounge, located on the corner of Iberville and Chartres streets in the city, was a bastion for gay and lesbians from the city, a place where they could gather with minor interference. On that day in history, members of Los Angeles’s Metropolitan Community Church, the nation’s first gay church, had gathered to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots.


Around 8:00 PM that evening, the doorbell rang and an attendee went downstairs to open the door. Once the door was opened, assailants lit a large amount of Ronsonol lighter fluid laid on the front steps. A fireball exploded up the stairs into the bar and, 15 minutes later, almost half of the nearly 70 event attendees were dead.


This arsonist had done a number of despicable things. This person targeted a minority group for killing, making the action a hate crime. This person dealt incredible damage to the facility, damage that can never truly be fixed. And, regardless of different social moods regarding homosexuality and gay marriage, 32 people were killed. That is an incredible loss of life.


Arson is a crime that can leave you without any good answers for why people act the way they do. When you need comfort and support in trying times, John Michael Agosti & Associates will investigate the scene and help you understand what happened.


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*Image courtesy of convisum