NEW ORLEANS, LA — In October 2006, Addie Hall was young, madly in love with her handsome bartender beau Zack Bowen — and totally unaware that she was days away from being the victim of a murder that would go down as one of the most gruesome in New Orleans history.
After falling for each other during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Addie and Zack moved into an apartment at 826 N. Rampart Street above the Voodoo Spiritual Temple on the edge of the French Quarter.
They refused to evacuate their neighborhood during the horrific storm, and they were profiled by several news media outlets as they spent their days surviving without electricity, feeding stray cats, and mixing cocktails for fellow holdouts.
The couple was highlighted in a New York Times article during the Katrina aftermath, pointing out Addie’s particularly NoLa-style way of getting help from authorities:
“In the French Quarter, Addie Hall and Zackery Bowen found a unusual way to make sure that police officers regularly patrolled their house. Ms. Hall, 28, a bartender, flashed her breasts at the police vehicles that passed by, ensuring a regular flow of traffic.”
But shortly after moving into their new home, the couple began to have violent, drunken arguments. Zack started drinking heavily and doing drugs — and Addie accused him of cheating. Then, friends, family and the entire community got a shock when Zack committed suicide by jumping from the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel after having one last drink at the hotel bar.
Investigators found a note in Zack’s right front pocket, and a key to the apartment he shared with Addie.
This is not accidental,” Zack’s note read.
“I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took. If you send a patrol car to 826 N. Rampart, you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge and a full signed confession from myself … Zack Bowen.”
When detectives got to Rampart Street, they found a gruesome crime scene. Two pots were sitting on the stove, one containing a woman’s head and another holding her hands and feet.
Spray-painted on the wall, police found the message:
“please call my wife. i love her. i’m a total failure. look in the oven. please help me stop the pain.”
Police later determined that after Addie accused Zack of infidelity during an argument on October 5, he strangled his girlfriend and then spent several days cutting up her body with the intent to cook and eat it — though, according to an autopsy, he did not appear to follow through with this plan.
Some paranormal experts believe that dark forces surrounding the Voodoo Spiritual Temple played a role in the killing. But following the murder-suicide, a picture began to emerge of Zack that showed a darker side of the clean-cut Iraq war vet.
Bowen was born in Los Angeles and moved to New Orleans in the ’90s. Before starting a relationship with Hall, Bowen was married and had two children.
During his military service in Iraq and Kosovo he earned several medals, including the NATO medal and the Presidential Unit Citation, which is awarded to military units that have performed a heroic act in the face of an armed enemy.
After his discharge, Bowen returned to New Orleans, where his good looks and charm landed him a string of bartending jobs. But friends said that he seemed haunted by his past. He wrote in the suicide note that he had 28 cigarette burns on his body to mark his failures in “school, jobs, military, marriage, parenthood, morals, love” for each year of his existence.
After killing Addie, Zack wrote in his suicide note that he continued to work and run errands, and spent $1,500 on strippers, food, and drugs.
“I scared myself not by the action of calmly strangling the woman I’ve loved for one and a half years … but by my entire lack of remorse,” Bowen wrote in his suicide note.
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Main photo: Addie Hall and Zack Bowen [Zack and Addie Trailer 2014 – Lucerne Film Fesitval / YouTube (screenshot)]