‘Louisiana does a pretty good job of keeping its tragedies a secret’

-a61a030e0fe71012Two-time Pelican D’or Film Festival winner Royd Anderson, a Louisiana native who specializes in documentaries about tragic Louisiana events often overlooked by historians released his film on the worst U.S. massacre of gays yesterday.

June 24, 2013 commemorates the 40th anniversary of the grim arson that killed 32 of the 65 patrons in the UpStairs Lounge, set ablaze by Ronsonol lighter fluid sprayed on the steps of the bar.

The arsonist was never convicted of a crime, and Patheos reported that Rodger Dale Nunez — who took his life only a year after the 1973 tragedy — claimed responsibility for the attack on multiple occasions.

What’s more, the gathering in the UpStairs Lounge was reported to be for members of the Metropolitan Community Church, the nation’s first gay church which had been founded in Los Angeles in 1969. It was also the last day of national Pride Weekend and the 4th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, noted Patheos.

The documentary premiered last night on Cox Communication cable channel 4 in New Orleans, and is scheduled to repeat on 1 p.m. Tuesday (June 25) and 6 p.m. Thursday (June 27).

NOLA’s coverage of the documentary includes this somber 8 1/2 minute video.

The crime remains unsolved.

Morgan Mornet

Morgan is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgia State University's journalism program with a focus on public relations and a minor in English. Good thing she also decided to take lots of news and media writing electives along with a study abroad trip to Istanbul, Turkey that focused on media, business and journalism in a global context because it turns out she loves reading news, advocating for progressive civil rights and then telling other people about it. She covers "hard" local and associated news stories in the South for Biscuette, freelances and assists with media analysis and relations at an Atlanta-based international non-profit. 

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