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During Pride, a look back at key moments in Louisiana LGBTQ+ history

Crowd of regulars at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans before it was burned down.
Courtesy of LGBT+ Archives Project
Crowd of regulars at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans before it was burned down.

It’s Pride Month, and this weekend, New Orleans has no shortage of events, including “gay ghost tours,” Black queer fests and a parade. In Baton Rouge, Pride Fest is coming on June 29, featuring a slew of performances at the Raising Cane’s River Center.

But this month also a time of remembrance for darker chapters in Louisiana’s queer history. In June of 1973, a fire at the UpStairs Lounge – a gay bar in New Orleans’ French quarter – took the lives of 32 people. It was the largest mass killing of LGBTQ people at the time. Last year, Louisiana Considered’s Alana Schreiber spoke with local historian Frank Perez about Louisiana’s queer history, and the impact and legacy of the fire. Today we give that story a second listen.

Then, we hear a series of reflections from Vincent Gloriosi Jr., the attorney who represented the victims and families seeking justice in the fire’s aftermath. His story was captured by Joe Shriner and Mark Cave, who recently spoke with Glorioso for NOLA Life Stories, a series from the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered is hosted by Adam Vos. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber; our contributing producers are Matt Bloom and Adam Vos; we receive production and technical support from Garrett Pittman and our assistant producer, Aubry Procell.

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:00 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out our pitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out our listener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Adam is responsible for coordinating WRKF's programming and making sure everything you hear on the radio runs smoothly. He is also the voice of Baton Rouge's local news every afternoon during All Things Considered.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WWNO from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.