What better way to honor and acknowledge the prevalent LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month than with a fundraiser and memorial for the victims of the UpStairs Lounge fire of 1973? 45 years ago, an intentional fire was set to the gay bar located in the French Quarter, resulting in the loss of 32 lives and complete destruction of the bar. After the fire, the then conservative Catholic community of New Orleans offered little support for victims and no one was ever prosecuted for the crime. Churches refused to bury the remains of victims and the event was even the center of offensive jokes. Until the Pulse Nightclub shooting, this was considered to be one of the largest mass killings of LGBTQ+ individuals in the States. After years of silence, the victims of this tragedy are finally being recognized in two events throughout the city.
Come out to Bourrée for the UpStairs Lounge Second Line Fundraiser on June 13th from 5 to 9 PM to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community in New Orleans. Socialize, drink, listen to music, and eat with friends and family. Bourrée will be serving up fresh fruit daiquiris from a signature purple truck and a Cajun classic, boudin. All of the proceeds will go towards the Upstairs Lounge Second Line, so make sure to come out and benefit a great cause!
The following weekend, on Sunday, June 24, at 5 PM, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, in partnership with LGBT+ Archives, will host a public, interfaith memorial service followed by a second line parade to the site of the fire. Show your support of the LGBTQ+ community by attending the service and showing your respect for the lives lost in the fire. In 1973, St. Mark’s was the only church willing to host a public memorial to the victims of the fire because of the stigma associated with homosexuality in the past.
For more information regarding these events, visit this link