40 years ago the worst mass murder in LGBT history.

40 yrs ago today, 32 gay men were burned to death in what was the largest lgbt mass murder to date. On June 24, 1973, an assailant, set fire to a bar called the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans french quarter. The UL which was on the second floor, was packed with 60 people, some of whom were lucking enough to get out through and unmarked exit door. However  because of barred windows, thick smoke and intense flames, Sadly 32 people died.

What is even more disturbing is that out of the 32 people that perished only 7 families came forward to claim their family member. The crime barely made the news and the police were hardly interested in solving the crime. They were gays after all. 

The official investigation failed to yield any convictions. The only suspect arrested for the attack was Rogder Dale Nunez, a local hustler and troublemaker who had been tossed out of the bar earlier in the evening. Nunez had been diagnosed with “conversion hysteria” in 1970, and had visited numerous psychiatric clinics. After his arrest, Nunez escaped from psychiatric custody and was never picked up again by police, despite frequent appearances in the French Quarter. A friend later told investigators that Nunez confessed on at least four occasions to starting the fire. He told the friend that he squirted the bottom steps with Ronsonol bought at a local Walgreens and tossed a match. He didn’t realize, he claimed, that the whole place would go up in flames. Nunez committed suicide the following year.

 It has never been proven that Nunez was the culprit.

One man managed to squeeze through the 14-inch gap between the bars. He jumped to street, his body engulfed in flames, but died on impact.

Another man, George “Mitch” Mitchell, safely made it out of the burning building, but when he realized his boyfriend, Louis Broussard, was still inside, he went back to save him. Their bodies were later found huddled together in the wreckage.

Reverend Bill Larson burned to death grasping the barred window frame. His charred corpse remained visible to onlookers from the street for hours afterwards.

I have known about this massacre for quite some time and was always amazed that it has not gotten the acknowledgement it deserves. 

Below are the names of the victims. May they rest in peace…

Reverend Bill Larson
Luther Boggs
Duane George “Mitch” Mitchell
Louis Broussard
George Stephen “Buddy” Matyi
Joe William Bailey
Clarence Joseph McCloskey, Jr.
Willie Inez Warren
Eddie Hosea Warren
James Curtis Warren
Dr. Perry Lane Waters, Jr.
Douglas Maxwell Williams
Leon Richard Maples
Larry Stratton
Reginald Adams, Jr.
James Walls Hambrick
Horace “Skip” Getchell
Joseph Henry Adams
Herbert Dean Cooley
David Stuart Gary
Guy O. Andersen
Donald Walter Dunbar
John Thomas Golding, Sr.
Adam Roland Fontenot
Gerald Hoyt Gordon
Kenneth Paul Harrington
Glenn Richard “Dick” Green
Robert “Bob” Lumpkin
Ferris LeBlanc
“Unknown White Man”
“Unknown White Man”
“Unknown White Man”

ps. A special thanks to Jim over at thedailymush for always reminding me to have the wisdom to look at things from another angle. ;)



  1. Jim Hlavac
    Jim Hlavac06-24-2013

    Thanks, Izzo.

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