(The following article, although based on a true story, may include exact facts and dates that are not one hundred percent accurate. Although nothing in the article is fiction, it has been written from my memory of the case from articles I have read, television programs, etc. I didn’t want this article to sound like every other article written about this particular case so I thought writing it by memory may give it a level of humanity that it may not have otherwise.)
From the moment I saw their smiling faces on the television I knew I had seen them before and I was taken back to see this same so called happy couple on the morning news. About a year prior I had seen the same picture on the same morning news show for a completely different reason. They had been part of the very small community of people who refused to leave the French Quarter which is an area of New Orleans when the entire city was being evacuated because Hurricane Katrina and all of her devastation were headed their way. Addie, Zack and a few others didn’t evacuate and seemed to be living a beautiful life together living in the ruins of the biggest hurricane that part of America had ever seen. The morning news show had done a piece about the two of them that was really quite touching. Love among the ruins was sort of the theme and the two lovers smiled from ear to ear in one another’s arms and seemed very happy so long as they had one another. At that time it looked as though nothing could ever come between them. So long as they had one another they could conquer anything life had to throw their way. Or at least that was the way I remember looking at them. Never at that time would I have ever imagined that approximately a year later I would see their smiling faces on the same morning news show with a very gruesome headline. Very different from the first one which was something along the lines of “True love really can conquer all”. The headline this time was Suicide/Murder: New Orleans Police Say, “Most Gruesome Crime Seen In Many Years.” Quite the contrast between the two stories and as more and more details began to surface the more intriguing this case became, to myself and to many.
Addie and Zack were both in their late twenties or early thirties when they met through a mutual friend. They were both working as bartenders in the French Quarter and by most accounts they met and fell in love pretty quickly. Both working as bartenders in the French Quarter before the hurricane they both liked to party and drink and were known to be free spirits.The story is that when the evacuation started in New Orleans prior to the infamous Hurricane Katrina Zack came by Addie’s apartment with the intention of saying “Good bye”, before leaving the area to be with his ex wife and two children. It is said that he was unable to leave his love, Addie, and decided that he would chance the hurricane and stay with Addie. They stayed together until they heard the hurricane die down and when they were finally able to leave their apartment I can only imagine their shock to see their town in ruins and just about everyone had evacuated. With just about everyone gone, those few who had decided to stay were able to live by breaking into homes and stores to get what they needed. Think about this for a second. All of a sudden, the city you live in, or what is left of it anyway, is not just in ruins but for the most part empty. There is no traffic. Very few people. No electricity. Everything is for the taking and you are with the love of your life. That is what life had all of a sudden become for Zack and Addie and although I imagine in was very tough at first, once you got used to it, it wouldn’t be half bad at all. Money all of a sudden doesn’t mean a thing. All of a sudden it would feel like the entire world is yours. It was about a month or so afer the hurricane that the New York Times ran a story about Zack and Addie and so did several other news shows. You can see the happiness written all over their faces during this time, Again, it was a picture of a couple that seem more in love than anyone can be. Two people so crazy about one another it is hard to imagine how anything could ever come between them. How anything could have ever gone wrong. But things did, and the story of these two lovers, like a Shakespearean tale, ended in absolute tragedy.
I suppose no one will ever really know when things started going downhill for Addie and Zack, but I would imagine it was when things started going back to “normal” in the French Quarter of New Orleans that things began to get shaky with the two lovers. Like us all, Zack and Addie had personal issues of their own that they were dealing with. Addie suffered from Bi-Polar and Zack suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from his years of service in Iraq. I would imagine these disorders were disrupted in many ways due to their circumstances. One, I don’t know about their medication history or if either one or both were taking medications to help relieve the symptoms from their mental illnesses but I would imagine they probably were. Especially Addie because very few diagnosed bi-polars are not prescribed at least one medication. My point here is I can’t imagine that with al the chaos going on with the aftermath of a hurricane such as Katrina, that either one of them had access to their medications for quite some time. I would imagine this would put at least a little stress on to a relationship. Two, when everything began going back to “normal”, they were no longer living in their own little world like they had been for quite some time. Pretty much since the beginning of their relationship. Really, their whole relationship for the most part wasn’t in a “real world” type of environment, if that makes any sense. All they knew was this little world of their own. A world where money didn’t matter. Jobs didn’t exist and life was about doing what you want when you want to. Responsibility is just not something that exists in the world that Zack and Addie’s relationship was used to living in. Real life, unfortunately, doesn’t go that way.. I wish it did! The two went back to work as bartenders and their relationship quickly became more and more rocky. They would argue a lot and were both struggling with their own demons, let alone the other one’s demons There were many stories about infidelity and substance abuse. The only two people that really know what really began happening in that relationship are the two that were in the relationship… Addie and Zack. We will never really know because neither one will ever be able to tell the whole story.
The New Orleans Police got a phone call one morning at about five in the morning. Apparently a young man had jumped out of a hotel window and was lying dead in the sidewalk. According to the ID in one of his pockets, it was Zack Bowen who had just taken his life. But why? It wouldn’t take very long at all to answer that question.. In another pocket they found a little plastic sandwich bag with a letter and a key. On the letter it read, “FOR POLICE ONLY’. Inside the letter, they were horrified to read what it said. Immediately they began to drive to the address of the apartment. The key was in the bag. Like promised in the letter, the key opened the door to the apartment, I can only imagine what could have been possibly going through the officers mind as they walked through that apartment. They were told in the letter that they were to find Addie Hall there, but I don’t believe they were told they were going to find her in pieces. I really can’t remember which body part was where but I know some were in the freezer while others were cooking on the stove. Her head was in a big soup pot on the stove. In the letter found in his pocket, Zack’s motive for murdering Addie wasn’t made clear, but he admitted to strangling her. He claimed that she had been screaming at him and accusing him of cheating that he had just lost it and murdered her. He also claimed he took his own life to pay for the one he took.
The story of Addie Hall and Zack Bowen really is a modern day Shakespearan tale. “Love in the ruins that can conquer all. However, a love so great it ends in tragedy. If a love is so strong it can conquer all, can it endure a tragedy such as this and bloom in the afterlife? “