#NeverForget – June 24th, 1973: The Pride Weekend UpStairs Lounge Arson Attack In New Orleans

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

You may also like...

13 Responses

  1. Glenn R. Green “Dick” was my favorite uncle. He died in that fire. He lived in Old Algiers and loved everyone he met regardless of what and who we all are. I knew instantly when he was gone even 1000 miles away at the time from each other. I know he saved his room mate he got him out the window my uncle collapsed at. I will forever miss his wonderful heart and spirit. I met so many wonderful loving people on my short stay to bring him home. I wish I could connect with those who knew my uncle it would mean so much to my heart. I love you all. Mary

  2. Mary says:

    I forgot to leave my email for contact info. so here it is

  3. I want to take the time and thank you for your story. My Dad Buddy(George Stephen Matyi) was in that fire. He was the panioist that played that night. He was asked to play there by a friend. It really breaks my heart to know all these people were murdered. My Dad was ripped from My Brother’s and my life. I think it’s wrong. I’m also sad that my family kept this from me all my life. I was told he died in a fire and where he was at had bars on the window and they couldn’t get out but than I find out my Dad did make it out and went back in for his friends and never made it out. My selfish thought was you were out Dad why did you feel you had to be a hero and go back it. I was told that is how my Dad was. Heart of gold. I have an Angel up there but I would have loved my Dad as I was growing up. Thanks. TinaMarie Matyi

  4. Jody Bennett says:

    Incomprehensible. Such unimaginable tragedy. It strengthens my fortitude to continue to fight for LGBTQ rights and also reminds me in the most profound way possible how lucky I am to live in a world that has changed (at least my part of the world). Certainly a long way to go, but progress has been made. I am sending prayers up to whomever may be up there for all those that perished, for all those that suffered through this horrible trauma, and for all the friends and family who lost so much. I hope that the souls of those lost are up their soaring and joyful. I know that they are living on in the hearts of their loved ones. And now indeed in mine.

  5. Thank you to all who gave and fought for what WE THE PEOPLE have today! We are family!

  6. My heart goes out to those that were lost, but not forgotten. I never knew this story until right now, and it saddens me that at 59 I never heard this story before! My heart hurts for all those lost. And for the friends and family remaining after all these years. I love you all. In gay pride and love. Greg “XO”

  7. Tony Kay Way says:

    Happy Pride to All!!! We can only say that because of people before who died for us to be able to say it!!! It is getting better thanks to so many!!! Heart out to Mary Mihalyfi and TinaMarie Matyi!!!

  8. taeylor brooks says:

    Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. As my friend often says in any great movement people usually have to die for things to change. Thank u to all who paved the way for me to say I am gay and not be killed. God bless these angels who spirits now soar…..GODSPEED.

  1. November 15, 2013

    […] just recently found out the whole truth about what happened to my own dad,” Matyi wrote on Back2Stonewall. “He was asked to play by one of his friends. It really upset me on how someone can kill someone. […]

  2. June 27, 2014

    […] And if you’re still wondering why the issue of equality is important to me, I’d like to draw your attention to another, darker anniversary this week. On June 24th 1973, 32 members of the gay community lost their lives in the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans. While the best suspect was a patron who’d been thrown out earlier in the night, no one was ever charged and authorities made it perfectly clear that no one was really interested in solving the case. After all, no one important died. Yes, that was the attitude. It’s horrific and I’d like to think that it would be so different today but there is places where it wouldn’t be. Check out this article here for more information: http://www.back2stonewall.com/2014/06/june-24th-1973-orleans-upstairs-lounge-arson-attack-kills-32-p… […]

  3. June 27, 2014

    […] And if you’re still wondering why the issue of equality is important to me, I’d like to draw your attention to another, darker anniversary this week. On June 24th 1973, 32 members of the gay community lost their lives in the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans. While the best suspect was a patron who’d been thrown out earlier in the night, no one was ever charged and authorities made it perfectly clear that no one was really interested in solving the case. After all, no one important died. Yes, that was the attitude. It’s horrific and I’d like to think that it would be so different today but there is places where it wouldn’t be. Check out this article here for more information: http://www.back2stonewall.com/2014/06/june-24th-1973-orleans-upstairs-lounge-arson-attack-kills-32-p… […]

  4. June 13, 2016

    […] sprayed and then lit on the wooden stairway to the crowded second-floor lounge trapping all within. The arsonist was never caught and to this day the exact reason the fire was lit has never been found […]

  5. June 25, 2016

    […] Back 2 Stonewall: http://www.back2stonewall.com/2016/06/june-24th-1973-orleans-upstairs-lounge-arson-attack.html […]

What do you think?