French Quarter Massacre Jimani Lounge Massacre Research
We received so many hits on our Ghost Hunters French Quarter Massacre Review and our Ghost Hunters French Quarter Massacre View Through that we wanted to do a page completely dedicated to research we did so we could bring you some answers and information.
French Quarter Massacre Jimani Lounge Massacre Research – the address for the lounge is 141 Chartres St. New Orleans, LA 70130.
Jimani opened in 1971. The building is much MUCH older so there are probably spirits from long before the fire.
The first sale of building seems to be in late 1848 and was purchased by Julia Hunt from Henry Carleton and was probably used to pay off a debt.
But you didn’t come here for a history lesson, did you? So, let’s get to it:
The fire started in The Upstairs Lounge which was located on the 2nd floor of a building at the corner of Chartres Street and Iberville Street off of Canal Street very near the edge of the French Quarter. The fire was deliberatly set and is the largest mass murder of gays in US history having killed 32 people.
Sunday, June 24, 1973 there were approximately 60 people in the building. There had been over 100 attending the New Orleans Metropolitan Community Church (this was a church for homosexuals) that held their services in the bar. When services were over the bar offered free beer to those that stayed. People had stuck around for the free beer and to discuss the MCC’s fundraiser for the local Crippled Children’s Hospital. This wasn’t the first time the church had been set on fire, it was the 3rd and the Upstairs Lounge had been serving as their temporary place of worship. There had been 3 fires at the Metropolitan Community Church during the first half of 1973. Their headquarters was destroyed on January 27, 1973.
A little before 8:00pm the doorbell rang which signals that a cab had arrived. The bartender, Buddy Rasmussen, opened the steel door the wooden staircase was fire and the lounge was quickly overtaken by flames…this was the only entrance/exit. There was an emergency exit but it was unmarked and the windows had metal bars.
Reverend Bill Larson, the pastor for the congregation, tried to escape through a window but became wedged and was burned to death.
Buddy Rasmussen, helped 15 escape (another article said 30) through the unmarked emergency exit. One of the people he led out was Mitch Mitchell. Mitchell went back into the building to help rescue Louis Broussard, his partner. Their bodies were found together.
George “Bud” Matyi escaped the fire but went back in to help others. His body was found under the piano holding on to other victims.
The fire lasted 16 minutes.
Many local churches refused to memorial services for those that perished in the fire.
No elected official ever made a public comment about the fire.
Many bodies went unclaimed because families were embarrassed to have gay family members. There were 4 unidentifed bodies that the city wouldn’t release for burial and their bodies were put in a mass grave in Potter’s Field; a pauper cemetery.
Rogder Dale Nunez was arrested for the fire. When he was questioned he went into convulsions (in 1970 he was diagnosed with Conversion Hysteria) and was taken to Charity Hospital and from there he escaped. He was often seen in the French Quarters but was never arrested. Allegedly, Nunez, told a friend on FOUR occassions (while drunk) that he had set the fire. Another friend said that Nunez said he had put Ronsonol on the bottom steps and tossed in a match. Nunez committed suicide. His autopsy showed that he had a brain tumor.
I was able to find a complete list of the deceased:
Partners, Joe William Bailey & Clarence Josephy McCloskey, Jr. perished together. McCloskey’s sisters and two neices attended the Memorial Service. His neice, Susan, represented McCloskey in the Jazz Funeral.
Duane George “Mitch” Mitchell, assistance pastor at MCC, died trying to save his partner, Louis Horace Broussard.
Mrs. Willie Inez Warren died with her sons, Eddie Hosea Warren and James Curtis Warren.
Pastor of the MCC, Rev. William R. Larson, formerly a Methodist lay minister.
Dr. Perry Lane Waters, Jr., a Jefferson Parish dentist. Several victims were his patients and were identified by his x-rays.
Douglas Maxwell Williams
Leon Richard Maples, a visitor from Florida.
George Steven Matyi
Reginald Adams, Jr., MCC member, formerly a Jesuit Scholastic. Partner of entertainer Regina Adams.
James Walls Hambrick
Horace “Skip” Getchell, MCC member.
Joseph Henry Adams
Herbert Dean Cooley, Upstairs Lounge bartender and MCC member.
Professional pianist, David Stuart Gary.
Guy D. Anderson
Donald Walter Dunbar
John Thomas Golding, Sr., member of MCC Pastor’s Advisory Group.
Professional linguist, Adam Roland Fontenot, survived by Douglas “Buddy” Rasmussen, who led a group to safety.
Gerald Hoyt Gordon
Kenneth Paul Harrington, Federal Government employee.
Glenn Richard “Dick” Green, Navy veteran.
Robert “Bob” Lumpkin
Four men were buried in Potter’s Field, Ferris LeBlanc, Unknown White Male, Unknown White Male, Unknown White Male, the City refused to release these bodies to the MCC for burial.