45 years ago today (gay bar fire in New Orleans)

June 24, 1973. Here’s the story. Arson at a gay bar in New Orleans killed 32.

It’s funny but I have no memory of this as a news story. I was nearly 24 at the time, and still in the closet, still feeling shame, probably having some internalized homophobia. Still I would have expected to have noticed a story like this.

Was this a national news story at the time? Does anyone (of an appropriate age) remember?

Yes, I remember it well. I was 27 at the time, and out.

From Wikipedia:

Probably the reason it didn’t get much traction as an attack against gay people is that it was of undetermined origin and likely the work of a gay patron who was thrown out earlier. this was mentioned in the NPR article and backed up by Wiki.

from Wiki:
The UpStairs Lounge arson attack occurred on June 24, 1973, at a gay bar located on the second floor of the three-story building at 141 Chartres Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States.[1] Thirty-two people died as a result of fire or smoke inhalation. The official cause is still listed as “undetermined origin”.[2] The most likely suspect, a gay man named Roger Nunez who had been ejected from the bar earlier in the day, was never charged and took his own life in November 1974.[3][4][5] No evidence has ever been found the arson was motivated by hatred or overt homophobia.