Important update in The UpStairs Lounge arson case that left 32 people dead as a search for the final four bodies was ordered

AFTER nearly fifty years, a search has begun for the last four bodies of a violent arson attack that killed 32 people.

The UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans, was torched on June 24, 1973 in a mass murder that devastated the community and families begged for closure.

New Orleans officials have passed a motion saying they will exhaust all resources to search for the four remaining bodies in a horror arson case

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New Orleans officials have passed a motion saying they will exhaust all resources to search for the four remaining bodies in a horror arson caseCredit: AP
The UpStairs Lounge, a well-known gay bar, was set on fire on June 24, 1973

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The UpStairs Lounge, a well-known gay bar, was set on fire on June 24, 1973Credit: AP
The horror fire killed 32 people and four of the bodies have yet to be recovered and given a proper burial

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The horror fire killed 32 people and four of the bodies have yet to be recovered and given a proper burialCredit: AP

Four of the victims, including a 50-year-old World War II veteran, Ferris LeBlanc, and three bodies, burned beyond recognition, were buried side by side in unmarked graves.

Now, as the horror event marks its 49th anniversary, city officials have passed a request for “all reasonable assistance” and proper burial for the victims.

“The city’s callous and grossly inadequate response … rooted in pervasive anti-gay sentiment,” compounded the suffering of victims’ friends and families, according to the motion, authored by Councilor JP Morrell.

“Poor records and indifference continue to hamper efforts by surviving family members to reclaim the bodies of victims and provide them with the dignity of a proper burial.”

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The city council issued a formal apology for the mishandling of the fire, which was the largest mass murder of gay men in the 20th century, CBS reported.

It was later surpassed by the Pulse nightclub shootings in 2016. author

Now, with the combined efforts of the city attorney, the property management director, and the chief administrative officer, local officials are coming together to search for LeBlanc, as well as three other victims, ages 18, 23, and 28.

“The Council has pledged to get to the bottom of this issue and do whatever it takes to help us bring this story to a close,” LeBlanc’s family wrote in a statement to ABC News.

“We are cautiously optimistic about this renewed interest and hope it will result in a positive resolution.”

Initial efforts to recover LeBlanc’s body for his family were complicated by Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed maps and other relevant records in 2005.

Author Johnny Townsend conducted dozens of interviews for a book about the events surrounding the fire.

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During the fire, a firefighter became concerned when he was unable to reach the blaze, Townsend wrote.

Another firefighter responded with a homophobic slur, saying, “Let them burn.”

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5950871/upstairs-lounge-arson-update-four-bodies-search/ Important update in The UpStairs Lounge arson case that left 32 people dead as a search for the final four bodies was ordered

DevanCole

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