June 23, 2022
Council Recognizes Survivors & Families of Victims of the Up Stairs Lounge Arson Attack
NEW ORLEANS - Today, during its regular meeting, the New Orleans City Council posthumously recognized the 32 victims of the 1973 arson attack on the Up Stairs Lounge. Resolution R-22-308 breaks the precedence of silence set by the City of New Orleans and allows for loved ones of survivors and victims to heal from past traumas.

The Up Stairs Lounge in the French Quarter served as a haven for the LGBTQ+ community in New Orleans at a time when queer individuals were not accepted in society. The fire was the deadliest attack on LGBTQ+ individuals of the 20th century and was the deadliest fire in recorded New Orleans history.

"The city we are today is not the city we were then," Councilmember JP Morrell stated. "The City of New Orleans' lack of response to the deadliest fire in our history has kept individuals from mourning their loved ones, but today we took a step in the right direction. Moving forward, my office will be working with the family of Ferris LeBlanc, a WWII veteran who died in the fire, to exhume his remains and properly memorialize him with full military honors. There's still so much left to do to adequately recognize the tragedy of the Up Stairs Lounge arson attack, but today was a good start."

Today's presentation to the Council was led by Up Stairs Lounge historian and author Robert Fieseler, Clancy DuBos, who covered the tragedy as an 18-year-old intern at the Times-Picayune, and local LGBTQ+ historian Frank Perez. Following the presentation, the resolution was presented to 90-year-old Rose Little, whose brother Clarence McCloskey died in the fire. 

Tomorrow, June 24, 2022, marks the 49th anniversary of the Up Stairs Lounge arson attack.

Media Contact:
Monet Brignac-Sullivan
Director of Communications
Councilmember JP Morrell, At-Large
New Orleans City Council
The New Orleans City Council is the legislative branch of the New Orleans city government. The Council considers and enacts all local laws that govern the City of New Orleans. The Council also approves the operating and capital budgets for the City, as recommended by the mayor, and continually monitors revenues and expenditures for local government operations. The City Council is also the regulatory body for public utilities. It also reviews and has the final say on many land use and zoning matters, as well as considers major economic development projects for the City. As a Board of Review for Orleans Parish, the Council examines appeals of property tax assessments for real estate taxes and certifies tax rolls to the Louisiana Tax Commission. Other responsibilities of the Council include overseeing the operation of the public access television in Orleans Parish. Streaming video and video archives of the City Council's Regular and Committee meetings can be found on the City Council website.

The City Council is comprised of five districts and Councilmembers-at-large: Council President and Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno; Council Vice President and Councilmember-At-Large JP Morrell; District "A" Councilmember Joseph I. Giarrusso, III; District "B" Councilmember Lesli D. Harris; District "C" Councilmember Freddie King III; District "D" Councilmember Eugene J. Green, Jr.; and District "E" Councilmember Oliver M. Thomas, Jr.