On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to a gay bar in New Orleans called the Upstairs Lounge, killing 32 gay men and women in what has gone down in history as the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history.
Today is the 41st anniversary of that tragedy, which has been documented by Robert L. Camina in the new film “Upstairs Inferno”. According to the first official teaser trailer below, the horrific event led to even more reprehensible acts in its wake – several bodies from within the club were never claimed by family members, those survivors featured in the news went on to lose their jobs and livelihoods, and the New Orleans police department lagged its feet and attempted to cover up the deadly crime.
To this day, no one has ever been charged with setting fire to the Up Stairs Lounge.
The documentary began as an Indiegogo campaign, raising more than $17,000 of its initial $12,500 goal. Camina says he’s always been passionate about sharing the story of the “Upstairs Inferno”, and has rounded up some of the most compelling witnesses to tell their version of events:
I’m very proud of the progress of the film and I know you will be too. UPSTAIRS INFERNO is poised to be the most comprehensive and authoritative film on the fire. Interviews with survivors and witnesses to the aftermath have been heart wrenching and insightful. Some of the people we interviewed haven’t discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. I’m thrilled to say that many granted us exclusive on-camera interviews. UPSTAIRS INFERNO will be the only documentary about the fire to feature these pivotal players in one place. I’m sure you can already see how moving this film will be.
- Out Of The Past: 32 Killed In Horrific Firebombing of Gay Bar (1973)
- Memorializing The Victims Of Horrific Firebombing At New Orleans’ Upstairs Lounge: “You Know This Was A Gay Bar”