Today marks 47 years since nearly 3 dozen were killed in the UpStairs Lounge fire

(Photo: Location of the former UpStairs Lounge; picture taken in 2016 by Infrogmation | CC)
Wednesday marked 47 years since nearly three dozen people were killed in the UpStairs Lounge fire at 141 Chartres St. in the French Quarter.

The fire was first reported shortly before 8 p.m. on June 24, 1973 as people were enjoying a party on the second floor of the building during the last day of Pride Weekend.

While arson is suspected, no one was ever prosecuted. The fire is often forgotten even though it was the deadliest known attack on an LGBTQ+ club until the 2016 Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando.

The fire’s anniversary comes days after the six-alarm blaze at the Quarter House hotel at 129 Chartres St. in which two firefighters were injured, just a few doors down near where The Jimani bar now sits.

UPDATED Crews battle 6-alarm blaze at Quarter House Hotel; two firefighters injured

The UpStairs fire killed 32 people and injured 15 more. Two white males who died in the fire have not been identified. Those who died include:

Willie Inez Warren, 59
James Curtis Warren, 26
Eddie Hosea Warren, 24
Luther Boggs, 47
Rev. William R. Larson, 47
Dr. Perry Lane Waters, Jr., 41
Horace “Skip” Getchell, 35
Leon Richard Maples, 31
George Steven “Bud” Matyi, 27
James Wall Hambrick, 45
Larry Dean Stratton, 25,
Joe William Bailey, 29
Clarence Joseph McCloskey, Jr., 48
Adam Roland Fontenot, 32
Ferris LeBlanc, 50
Donald Walter Dunbar, 21
Kenneth Paul Harrington, 48
Gerald Hoyt Gordon, 37
John Thomas Golding, Sr., 49
Douglas Maxwell Williams, 20
Robert Lumpkin, 29
David Stuart Gary, 22
Guy D. Anderson, 41
Duane George Mitchell, 31
Louis Horace Broussard, 26
Reginald Adams, Jr., 24
Joseph Henry Adams, 51
Herbert Dean Cooley, 32
Glenn Richard Green, 32
Larry Norman Frost, 32

UPDATED Crews battle 6-alarm blaze at Quarter House Hotel; two firefighters injured

Two New Orleans firefighters were injured Thursday night and are recovering after battling a six-alarm fire that broke out at a Chartres Street hotel, a spokesman said.

Both firefighters became separated from the crews inside the Quarter House hotel, with one becoming temporarily trapped, and suffered smoke inhalation while exiting the building as flames intensified, said New Orleans Fire spokesman Gregory Davis.

The firefighters were transported to a local hospital, but are expected to make full recoveries.

Firefighters responded to a 911 call for a one-alarm fire shortly before 8 p.m. at the Quarter House Resort hotel located at 129 Chartres Street, said NOFD Chief Chris Mickal.

The first crews arrived at 7:55 p.m. and called a second alarm, adding more firefighting resources, after finding the roof of the five-story hotel on fire.

Fire crews were making an interior attack inside the hotel when the fire became stronger, prompting the third alarm to be called at 8:19, with firefighters ordered out of the building, Davis said, adding that the two firefighters separated from their teams and one became trapped in a confined space.

Crews immediately searched for the trapped firefighters and found them, breaking a window as they ran out of air, Davis said.

The blaze was reported out-of-control just before 9:30 p.m. and was upgraded to six alarms at 11:13 p.m., indicating a serious fire that ultimately required more than 80 fire personnel from 27 NOFD units.

The fire was brought under control at 2 a.m., Davis said.

Additionally, Louisiana State Police; the New Orleans Homeland Security and Preparedness, Emergency Medical Services and Police Department responded to the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Davis said.

(Above photo credit: NOFD; gallery credit below: NOFD, first four pictures; Kevin Minsky, last four pictures.)

Chartres and Conti intersection closes Friday for 24-hour construction project

(Corner of Chartres and Conti streets. Photo: Infrogmation | CC Wikimedia)
The intersection of Conti and Chartres streets will be closed intermittently to vehicular traffic for one day starting Friday morning so that crews can dig a trench to inspect utility lines in anticipation of a two-block road construction project, a New Orleans spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Closure begins at 8 a.m. and is expected to last until Saturday, May 23, as workers from Hard Rock Construction — a Public Works contractor — construct a trench in order to verify the location, depth and size of electric and gas lines under the roadway, spokeswoman LaTonya Norton said.

Construction is expected to last until Saturday, at which point the intersection will reopen to traffic.

“Public safety is our priority,” Norton said. “Commuters are asked to be mindful to workers and to travel at reduced speeds in this area.”

Norton said drivers, pedestrians and residents should expect intermittent road and sidewalk closures, constriction equipment, limited parking availability, cones and fencing, elevated noise levels, dust and continuous vibration monitoring.

Additionally, there will be temporary asphalt pavement over the completed trench.

The brief closure is part of a city project to design a full reconstruction of Conti Street between Bourbon and Chartres streets.

Entergy will upgrade its gas and electric utilities in advance of the city’s massive project in order to avoid construction conflicts and potential delays, Norton said.

Entergy’s work is anticipated to begin in the 700 block of Conti Street in June and the entire project is expected to take approximately 10 months, Norton added.

The project is part of an “unprecedented” and mostly FEMA-funded $2.3 billion program by New Orleans Public Works and Sewerage and Water Board to improve damaged infrastructure.

Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc rolls through French Quarter on Jan. 6

Margarita Bergen via Facebook.

The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc, a Mardi Gras parade inspired by France’s Joan of Arc, will usher in the beginning of the Carnival season on the evening of Jan. 6 in the French Quarter.

This year, the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc will begin its procession at 7 p.m. sharp at Bienville and N. Front streets.

Read: Mardi Gras season begins Jan. 6 with Phunny Phorty Phellows street car ride from Uptown to the French Quarter

The krewe commemorates Joan of Arc, also known as the Maid of Orleans, a peasant woman whose divine visions inspired a French victory over the English for control of France during the Hundred Years’ War in the Middle Ages.

Claiming to be guided by divine visions, Joan of Arc convinced a desperate King Charles VII of France to allow her to tag along with a relief army to the besieged city of Orleans in April 1429, according to historians.

Her mere presence is often credited for inspiring the liberation of the city from the English a week later and subsequently helping the French win several more battles.

The 2020 Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc parade starts 7 p.m. sharp at the corner of Bienville and North Front streets | joanofarchparade.org.

The teenage Joan of Arc was captured by the English at the Siege of Compiegne in May 1430, tried for heresy and eventually executed by getting burned at the stake one year later.

Shortly before the krewe begins its walk, New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer will read a proclamation at the parade’s starting point at 6:45 p.m.

Recognizing its connection to New Orleans, France gifted the city with a gilded statute of Joan of Arc at the intersection of Decatur and North Peters streets in 1972.

The first Joan of Arc krewe paraded in 2009.

The Joan of Arc parade route will proceed northwest down Bienville Street before hooking a right on Chartres Street. A brief stop will be made between The Historic New Orleans Collection and Vincent Sciama, Consul General of France in New Orleans, on the balcony of the Williams Research Center at 400 Chartres Street.

Three blocks later, a sword blessing will occur at Saint Louis Cathedral by the Very Reverend Father Philip G. Landry.

The parade continues three blocks later before making a right at Ursulines Street, then another right one block later at Decatur Street.

One half block later, the parade will pause briefly at the Joan of Arc statue to sing happy birthday before continuing down Decatur Street to Washington Artillery Park where there will be a crowning of the king of the krewe along a king cake ceremony.

Individuals are encouraged to bring their own king cakes to share with others in the parade.