I met Jonathan O'Brien in October of 2013. He was the general manager of the Jimani in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Jonathan was to be our tour guide through the former Upstairs Lounge, which was above the Jimani.
The Upstairs Lounge was a gay bar from the 1970s that was destroyed on June 24, 1973 when an arsonist tossed a Molotov cocktail into the stairway and trapped the customers and causing the deaths of 32 victims.
Jonathan told us the story about the fire and showed us where it began. He showed us photographs from the night of the incident, which included photos of burned victims.
During our tour we conducted a paranormal investigation and acquired evidence that confirmed the existence of intelligent spirits in the former rooms of the Upstairs Lounge.
After the tour, I bought Jonathan a drink at the bar downstairs and we soon said our goodbyes. We did not see each other, again, but stayed in touch via emails.
When I began writing a book called "A Ghost In New Orleans" I used a character that was based on Jonathan. It was my thanks to him for the tour and for providing me with copies of the photos.
I can never know what drove him to his untimely end. I can only pay tribute to him in my own way as thanks for being kind and helpful to my wife and I. He was a true gentleman with a nice personality. I am sorry he will never get to know my tribute to him, but then again... maybe he does know.
If any of his family members or friends ever read this, I'd like to extend my deepest condolences to you. I am truly sorry for your loss, for it is my loss, as well. May the memory of Jonathan live on forever in my book, so that all will know the great person we've lost. Rest in peace, buddy.