Monday, July 2, 2018

the last book I ever read (Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, excerpt eight)

from Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler:

Buddy Rasmussen, the bartender of the Up Stairs Lounge who had saved twenty-odd patrons, disappeared after giving his full account of the blaze to police detectives. Buddy was emotionally crippled, and he spent most waking hours with Bill Duncan, a close friend. Buddy barely left Bill Duncan’s apartment, which was situated on Iberville Street catercorner from the blackened edifice of his former workplace.

An entire chapter of Buddy’s life—his triumph in building a profitable business with the bar’s owner, Phil Esteve—had been reduced to cinders. Adam Fontenot, his great love, was also gone forever. Through the dull throb, Buddy could hear the hubbub at the Chartres Street intersection, where the detritus and rubble of the Up Stairs Lounge attracted large crowds. Motorists in packed cars drive past the site as if it were a fun house. Tourists lined up and nosed past the doorway to the stairwell holding cups of open liquor, a practice synonymous with New Orleans. The Jimani bar, untouched on the first floor directly below the rubble, had already reopened to serve passersby.

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