Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Orleans Horror Story

This is a photo of 28-year old Zackery Bowen and 30-year old Addie Hall of New Orleans. They met during Hurricane Katrina, fell in love, and over the next year engaged in a volatile love affair.

On Wednesday, October 18th, Bowen jumped to his death from the Omni Royal Orleans hotel in the French Quarter. In his pocket was a suicide note; the note also directed officers to go to his apartment on Rampart Street, above the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple.

There police found the remains of Addie Hall. Bowen had strangled her on October 5th, had sex with the corpse, then dismembered and cooked her remains.


I have always loved southern Louisiana, and especially New Orleans, from my first visit there in 1998. I love the premium that New Orleans residents place on hospitality and having a good time, but what really fascinates me is that just beneath all that laissez les bon temps rouler is a deep undercurrent of decay, madness and horror.

This story has it all: a good-looking but dissipated young couple, thrown together during a devastating hurricane, both drifters (he moved from Los Angeles in 1996, she from Pennsylvania) who ended up in New Orleans working in the hospitality industry (he as a grocery delivery man for Matassa'’s and bartender at Buffa's, she as a bartender at one of my favorite clubs, the Spotted Cat.) This being a New Orleans story, there are drugs, guns, booze, sex, and voodoo.

Addie Hall told friends she had been abused as a child. Zackery Bowen claimed he served in the Army in Bosnia and Iraq, and, when drinking, would mutter darkly about the government "“messing him over." No one has been able to confirm his military service yet, and my bet is that, if he even served at all, he got bounced out during training. The couple stayed in the French Quarter after Katrina, refusing to evacuate, and became local celebrities. Hall ensured extra police presence around their apartment by flashing her breasts at passing police cars.

They both look familiar to me; I can'’t decide if it's because I actually ran into them during our travels, or that they just look like so many other young people you run into in the French Quarter or Faubourg Marigny.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has complete coverage, including background, photos and video, here.


Beth said...

Oh, God, what a frightening, sad, sick story. And yet it fits in post-Katrina New Orleans, doesn't it?

Johnny Yen said...

"True love is the devil's crowbar...."-- X

Bubs said...

Beth, that's what I thought--a portrait of a relationship between two troubled individuals falling apart, reflecting the larger picture of a troubled city falling apart.

I've always been fascinated by the numbers of foodservice/bartender/musician/artist/dopefiends that you find in New Orleans. This couple represent the extreme of that subculture.

Johnny, truer words were never spoken.

Coaster Punchman said...

I started to type something funny, but then thought I'd better show some respect for the dead.