Upstairs Inferno Screening Press Release

SunCoast Cathedral MCC to show “The UpStairs Inferno”

On Friday, June 9 at 6:30pm, SunCoast Cathedral MCC will host a licensed showing of the documentary “The Upstairs Inferno,” which retells the story of the 1973 arson of the Upstairs Lounge, a gay nightclub in New Orleans.  An arsonist blocked the exit doors and set fire to the building, resulting in the death of 32 people, mostly gay and lesbian.  Among those who died in the fire was the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of New Orleans and about one-third of his congregation.  The pastor tried to climb out between bars on the window and got wedged there.  Bystanders could only watch in horror as he burned to death.  To add to the tragedy, police left the body uncovered and hanging out of the window for passers-by to see.  Sadly, some families refused to claim the bodies of family members.  Four individuals were never identified and were buried in a common grave in pauper’s field.

“The Upstairs Inferno” recounts the events of that day and includes interviews with some of the survivors.

As we approach the first anniversary of the Pulse massacre, it is fitting that we remember that this was not the only time that the LGBT community suffered mass murder.  In the same way that we remember the Holocaust, we remember the dark days of our history and use these painful memories to energize us to make sure these events do not happen again.

A $5 donation will be accepted at the door.  Following the film, there will be a time of sharing and discussion.

For more information, contact Rev. Nancy Wilson or Rev. Vickie Miller at SunCoast Cathedral MCC, 3276 East Venice Avenue, 941-484-7068.

SunCoast Cathedral MCC is a member church of MCC Churches which has nearly 300 worship groups in 33 countries.


Metropolitan Community Church