New Orleans this week remembers the victims of an attack on a gay bar; the tragedy has been dubbed the “Stonewall of New Orleans.”

Forty years ago on Monday, massive panic broke out when the Upstairs Lounge in the French Quarter was firebombed. Investigators concluded that the fire, which trapped and killed 32, was arson, but no one was ever charged with the crime.

A memorial mass for the victims of the fire held at St. George's Episcopal Church led to the censure of then-priest William Richardson.

Today, the church joined in the mourning, holding a memorial service for the victims on Saturday.

Father Richard Easterling of St. George's Episcopal Church said that Richardson's actions “helped in a small way to push New Orleans a little bit forward.”

“At the time the laws and the culture was such that gay people were really hidden,” Mark Vaughn, the vice moderator for Metropolitan Community Church of New Orleans, told Eyewitness News WWL. “So much so that a lot of the parents and families did not even want to claim some of the victims in the fire.”

On Monday night, a second memorial service will be held in front of the vacant building where the nation's deadliest mass murder of gays took place 40 years earlier. City leaders, witnesses and family members of the victims are expected to speak at the ceremony organized by New Orleans Pride. (A video report is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

The attack is the subject of the upcoming documentary Upstairs Inferno.