In the early seventies, The UpStairs Lounge, a little known queer Oasis in the French Quarter of New Orleans, was a second home to its patrons, a place where they felt safe and free to be themselves in the world that was rampant with discrimination. On the night of June 24th, 1973, someone doused the entrance of the bar in lighter fluid and lit it on fire, causing a blaze that would kill 32 people. Until the tragedy at Pulse Orlando in 2016, the fire at The Upstairs Lounge was the single deadliest attack on the queer community in the US on record, and it remains one of the deadliest fires in modern New Orleans history.
The Fire UpStairs Podcast is a miniseries about the 1973 UpStairs Lounge arson, exploring its lesser-known history and present-day themes. Over the course of the season, we'll be joined by notable members of the queer community to discuss the story of the UpStairs Lounge; its role in the larger arch of queer history, and themes that are just as relevant to the queer community of today as they were fifty years ago.