Documentary “Upstairs Inferno” highlights Louisiana’s gay mass murder

New Orleans, LA: June 24, 2015 – Today, as anti-gay rights Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal insensitively announces his candidacy for President is the 42nd anniversary of the largest gay mass murder in U.S. History in the very city it occurred, many people will be honoring the victims of the horrific Up Stairs Lounge fire by attending the World Premiere of the documentary, UPSTAIRS INFERNO. The film will be more than a mere movie screening. It’s poised to be a historic event. Survivors of the fire, families and friends of the victims, and witnesses will be in attendance. Many are traveling across the country to attend the premiere, some of whom haven’t seen each other in over 40 years.

A Q&A featuring writer/director Robert L. Camina and many special guests will follow both screenings. Among them is Louisiana State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, will be coming in from Baton Rouge to view the film and publicly address the Up Stairs Lounge fire case during the talkback.

The 96 minute film is written and directed by Robert L. Camina and narrated by New Orleans’ own New York Times best selling author, Christopher Rice. Two screenings will be held at the historic Prytania Theater, located in the New Orleans Garden District (5339 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115). More information:

Arson and death targets the gay community

On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the Up Stairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA. The result was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the tragedy. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified. One-third of the New Orleans chapter of the Metropolitan Community Church were killed in the blaze, including two clergy. The primary suspect was never charged with the crime. The tragedy did not stop at the loss of lives. There were also the delayed injuries: lost jobs, fear, public ridicule and severed families. The devastation was compounded by the homophobic reactions and utter lack of concern by the general public, government and religious leaders. The fire permanently altered lives and was the root of many lifelong struggles.

The documentary piecing all this together is poised to be the most comprehensive and authoritative film about the fire and its aftermath. However, UPSTAIRS INFERNO isn’t simply a stagnant exposition of facts. It also brings humanity to the headlines by shining a light on the very painful effect the tragedy had on survivors, witnesses and loved ones.

Their interviews have been gut wrenching, yet insightful. Some of the people interviewed in the film haven’t publicly discussed the fire until now, especially on camera. Many granted the production exclusive on-camera interviews. Featuring over 20 powerful interviews, it’s specifically noteworthy to mention that the film includes a rare, heartbreaking interview of a survivor who lost her lover, Reggie Adams in the blaze.

As part of her long healing process, she legally changed her name to “Regina Adams” in honor of her “one true love”. In addition, the film includes Ricky Everett and Francis Dufrene (two survivors who barely escaped the inferno), a son of one of the victims, Reverend Elder Troy Perry (Founder of the Metropolitan Community Church), Johnny Townsend (Author, “Let the Faggots Burn”), Clayton-Delery Edwards (Author, “The Up Stairs Arson”), Clancy DuBos and Ronnie LeBouef (Two former employees of the Times-Picayune newspaper) and many more.
It is expected that the documentary will be available via streaming and/or DVD in the near future.

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