NOLA by jizhen1947


									lllustration BradHolland
 I eo Watermeier      couldn't  bringhimself she had been sexuallyabused as a                              meet.  Whenshewasn't     serving  drinksat
 Lto open was just after child,whileBowenwas haunted his                      by           the SpottedCat, a beloved dive bar in
 10 p.w. October16 and Watermeier U.S.Army servicein Kosovo,
           on                                                                           Afghani-           the nearbyFauborg-Marigny        neighbor-
 stood outsideone of the buildingshe stan, and lraq. The aftermathof Katri-                                hood, she was a dancer, seamstress,
 owns on New Orleans'North Rampart na-mass power outages,eerily aban-                                      and poet.Bowen, LosAngeles
                                                                                                                                a              native,
 Street,          A
         stalling. few minutes     earlier,the donedstreets, a silence seemed
                                                              and                  that                    was a drummerwho was obsessedwith
 police  had delivered disturbing
                         the             news to permeate entire
                                                            the          city-had a sooth-                 theprog-metal bandslikeTool.
                                                                                                                           of                 Though
 that Watermeier's28-year-oldtenant, i n n o f f e e f n n t h p n n r r n l a . $ g { n e i t h e f O f   Bowen was big and burly,he had a
 ZackeryBowen,had jumpedoff the roof them could escapetheir histories,                            and      strong romanticstreak:He marriedhis
 of the Omni RoyalOrleanshotel.More the storyof how Hurricane                    Katrina's      most       first wife, Lana, in 2000 at St. LouisCa-
 disturbing, had lefta suicide        notedi- celebrated   couplebecameone of New                                   in
                                                                                                           thedral NewOrleans'      historic Jackson
 recting cops to the apartment,saying Orleans'          most horrifying        murdersis not               Square;and he would oftenfete female
 police  wouldf indthedismembered        body the storyof a storm,but of the deep and                      friendswith raw oysters the city'sclas-
 of hisgirlfriend, Adriane   "Addie" Hall.     persistent emotional scars that re-                         sic seafoodjoint,CooterBrown's      Tavern
    "l got the keys,openedthe door,and emerged itswake,  in                                                and OysterBar.
 stood at the steps inside,"Watermeier                                                                        Hall and Bowen shared a near-reli-
 says."ButI didn'twantto go upstairs." lwish thisloveforeveryhuman                      beingon            giousdevotion thedarkbarroom
                                                                                                                           to                   blues
    It wouldbe hardto blamehim.When Ithe planet,"            Add:egushed theirpartyto                      of singer-songwriter LaMontagne,
the New Orleanspolice burst into the
 apartment,they found Hall's charred
 head on the stove.Her hands and feet
were in pots of water on the range,and
 her limbs had been baked. What re-
 mainedof Hall'sbody was packed in
 black garbage bags in the refrigerator.
This gruesome       crime scene had been
 moldering nearlytwo weeks;in his
suicide note, Bowen confessedthat he
 had killedhisgirlfriend October
                            on          5.
    Newsof Addie Halland ZackeryBow-
en's deaths spread rapidlythroughthe
 French Quarter,whose close-knitresi-
dents were even more bound together
 becauseso few remainedpost-Katrina.
The Louisiana      RecoveryAuthorityre-
cently estimatedthat the city's popula-
tion, which was half a millionin 2000,
now standsat 190,000.
   Just about everybodyin the French
Quarter,   and manyoutsideNewOrleans,
knew Hall and Bowen.Because
riddenout the stormtogether, couple
had become a nationalsymbol of the
                                                    "T|tBy friends nl
                                                         re[alsd tnlith how
                                                    thsy oul $nrm c00ki||0
city's  seemingly  indomitable
                                                       r0dslhe louel||en|||eill$
                                 spirit. the
days following    the hurricane,    Hall and
Bowenwere profiled everywhere-from
the lVevy   YorkTimes(on the front page,
no less)to AlabamasMobilePress-,9eg-
isfer---described strangesurvivalists
                                                          op8l|fi|'e lwe
who endured the storm'saftermathby
and using
              paper platesinto fly-swatters
             felledtreelimbsas kindling    for
                                                    in middle lllichdls
                                                      the of  0ouerltor $ll'Eel,"
campfires.The New YorkTimes         recount- guests. lt was just weeks after Katrina                       fallingin love to his debut lrouble amid
ed Hall's   habitof "flash[ing] breasts slammed
                                 her                     the Gulf Coast,and Hall and                                high
                                                                                                           Katrina's winds.      The lyrics thetitle
at the policevehicles    that passedby,en- Bowenwere hostinga barbecuein the                               track-'Feels likeeverytime I get back
suring regular     flowof traffic."            courtyardof Hall'sapartmentat 1012                          on my feet/ she come aroundand knock
   It was Katrina   that broughtthe two to- Governor     NichollsStreet.      Bowen      hadjust           me downagain/ Welll'vebeensavedby
gether.The couple met just a few days movedin with Halland the couplewas                                   a woman"-seemed tailor-made their for
before the storm at a bar where Hall regalingfriendswith storiesof how they                                redemotive  relationshio.
worked,and they'dfallenso quicklyin rode out the storm together: cooking                                     Whenmutual     friend Caoricho DeVellas  E
lovethat BowenmovedintoHall's         French mealsover an open fire;drinking                  cock-        had a storm-relatedbreakdown, he
Quarter apartmentwhen Katrina bore tails served on ice that Bowen had                                      stayedat the couple'sapartment.     "They ts
downon them.As the stormbattered          the stashed  fromhisjob delivering           groceries           broughtme back from whereverI was," *       t

city,theirtroubledpasts seemedto dis- for Matassa'sMarket; making love at                                  remembers DeVellas, a 28-year-olds
solve.CitieslikeNewOrleans        attractout- nightin the middleof Governor              Nicholls          graphicartistand, like Bowen,a deliv-      I

casts and transients      lookingto reinvent Street.  "We'vebeen ableto see the stars                      erymanat Matassa's, calledit'theZack =
themselves, the oastsHalland Bow- for the first time," Hall told the Mobile
               but                                                                                                             '
                                                                                                           and Addie Spa.' When the waters re-
en were runningfrom were partlcularly Press-Renister           "Reforc this was a 24-                      ceded, the dream-like     {eel of the city p
dark. Hall, who was from Chapel Hill, hourlit city.Now,it'speaceful,"                                      wentwiththem.Residents     wereforcedto
NorthCarolina,     confidedin friendsthat        Hall and Bowen seemed destinedto                          deal with insuranceclaims, f looded

homes,and, ultimately, difficult        deci- threedays-but theirstrongpassionfor intoLeoWatermeier's NorthRampart826
sionaboutwhether remainin the city. each otherwas matchedby theirfury.To Street.Becausethey had enoughcash
   A different realitywas intruding Hall friends,
                                      on                Halland Bowen    seemed exist forthef irstmonth's and a one-month
                                                                                  to                           rent
and Bowen.Bowenbegan bringing              his in an insaneorbit of viciousfightsand deposit-a rarity in the post-Katrina
two childrento their Governor        Nicholls tearfulreconciliations. Therewere mara- city-Watermeierhanded over the keys
apartment,   which angeredHall Adding thon drinking           and drug sprees,    and vi- without lease.
to the tensionwas the fact that he was ciousfights.         Afterone clash,Bowen     told    On the morningof October4, however,
separated   from-but had notdivorced-           lnez Quintanilla, FrenchQuarterbar- Hallcame to Watermeier's
                                                                  a                                                   officeand de-
their mother.   "Shewantedhim to be a tender,that "women are bloodsuckers mandeda six-month                      lease,so Watermei-
creationonly for her," DeVellas       says of and money whores."       When Quintanilla er hastilyprepareda documenton a
Hall."lt was the samewithhim:He fellin responded,"Dude, you got issues,' piece of yellowlegal paper.
love with the goddess of the French Bowenshot back,                 "We all got issues. lf uteslater, get a phonecallfromZack,"
                                                                    what I been through, Watermeier     recalls. "He says, 'Did you
Quarter, thatwas not reality-and re- you been through
alitystartedforcingits waYin."                  maybeyouwouldfeelthe sameway."             justsigna six-month   lease withAddie? |
                                                                                                 'Yeah.'He said, 'Oh man, I'm
    Hallwas a   heavydrinker   who became                                                  said,
abusive   when drunk,oftenputting       Bow-        he end of summer2006was a Par- screwed.           She'skickingme out and the
                                                                                                                              'Well, I
en in  hercrosshairs,  She'ddeliver    wither-      ticularlyturbulenttime,evenby Hall lease is in her name.' I said,
ing insultsor tell him to stay away from
the Spotted    Cat.
she'dsnarl."l don'twant to be the last-
ditchstopon yourfree-drink       escapade."
 Bowen,meanwhile,       seemed unableto
cometo gripswithhistours duty, of       which
ended in December2004. His mood
wouldlurchfromgregarious broodlng,
 duringwhich he wouldliterally       gruntre-
 sponses questions.
           to              Thougha few of
 Bowen's   friendshave claimedthat he
 confessed wartime
             to          atrocities, DeVellas
 saysthatBowen     wasslmply    disillusioned
 whenthe ideological                   for
                         foundations the
 lraq war crumbled."Zack might have
 been able to reconcile    what he was do-
 ing,"DeVellas   says,"butwhenyou send
 a manto war and you find out the actual
 reasonsare not what your leaderssaid
 theywere,it makesit 100timesworse.'
    As New Orleans      slowlybegan to re-
 builditselfHalland Bowen's       relationship
 beganto drownin boozeand chaos.          The
 couple took to playing a card game
 calledsuicidekings,which requires
 entirepitcherof beer to be consumed
 whenevera king is pulled.While the
                                              "$ultdaysawed restthe
                                                   niUht 0ll
                                                      I     the 0l
 game sometimes
 versation,induced manyepicfights
 Afterplaying few rounds

                               one nightHall
                                              leus arln$ptll in
                                                altd altd lhelnl'oa$inu
 ran off,and when Bowencaughtup with
 her earlythat morning,     they returned
 the GovernorNichollsapartment a         for
                                             to      inlhe altd 0u1."
 major brawl. "Something      torrential  hap- and Bowen's     standards. August,Hall thoughtit was for the two of you. Don't
 pened," DeVellassays. "She had a was arrested pulling gun on a man g e t m a da t m e . ' T h e n e h u n gu P . "
                                                              for        a                                         h
 scraoe herelbowand shedidn'tknow in the French
         on                                                   Quarter. monthor so later,
                                                                      A                       Watermeier  rushedover to 826 North
 where it came from-all she could re- Bowen             was cuffed  whenpolicerespond- Rampart        and foundthe couplearguing
 member is that she slapped hlm and ed to complaints               abouthis pounding   on in the doorway.   "Shesaid,'l caughthim
 possibly  pushedhimaway."                       Hall's
                                                      apartment  doorandfounda bag      of cheatingon mel' " Watermeier        recalls.
    Shaken    by the incident,Bowen de- his marijuana.By Labor Day. the two He was surprised heartenantsreveal to
 clared thathe'dhad enough Hall's of       be- werelivingapart.Bowengot a job tend- such personal          detalls  and Hall,sensing
                           train to Seattleto ing bar at a FrenchQuarterbar called hisdiscomfort, to convince land- E        the
                                                                                                           tried                         3
  haviorand hopped a
 stay with relatives, he was so miser- Buffa'sand moved into the EmPress,
                       but                                                               a lord that she  wouldn'tbe causingany E
 able withouther that he couldn'tresist cheap hotelon a seedy block.He and moretrouble.                   "l'm gonnalookafteryour       s
 telling fellow passengers about his Hallwouldseemingly backtogether place,"she promised
                                                                       get                                           Watermeier.   "l'm t9
  French Quarter  goddess.Hallwasn'ttak- every few days, with Bowencarting his gonnabe a good tenant." as Water- *      But
  ing the breakup   much better;    she holed belongings Addie's
                                                            to          Governor  Nlcholls meiersettledin for the     night,Hall and s
  up in her apartment    and refusedto see Street apartmentin his delivery bike's Bowen's            fighting ragedon,                   9

  anyonebut DeVellas,                                   "l
                          who was on what basket. offered letZack movein with
                                                                   to                         In his suicidenote,Bowendescribed E
  he calls"suicide  watch."                      me," says RhondaSteff,a bartenderat in measured         detail whathappened     next:
    In spring 2006, Bowen returned to Buffa's,          "but he refused. thinkthey both She had stolen this apartment (ask Leo
  New Orleans a blissful
                 for            reunion-the enjoyed drama."Inthe midstof oneof Watermeier.
                                                         the                                             He'll explain that one), tried I-
  couple didn't leavetheir apartment        for thosereconciliations, couplemoved to kick me out, then would not shut the

    fuck up so I very calmly strangledher. lt          hours later turned off the stove, filled the       lasttime I saw her:       not who every-
    was very quick. Thenafter sexuallydefil-           tub with waterand passed out.                      bodythinksI am.'   "
    ing the body a few times I was posed                  Eventually, f inished
                                                                      he         taking apartthe             At a housewarmingparty DeVellas
    with the questionof how to disposeof the           body: Sunday night I sawed off the rest            threwthree nlghtslater,Bowenkept the
    corpse.                                            of the legs and arms and put them in               party rolling,bartendingand slinging
      Bowenpassedout in a drunkenstu-                  roasting pans, stuck them in the oven,             drinksuntilsunrise.  Whenthe lastguest
    por,waking timeforworkat Matassa's,
                in                                     and passed out. I came to seven hours              went home,he sat with DeVellas the  in
    where he encountered    DeVellas. "Zack            later with an awful smell eminating[sic]           livingroomand listened Ray LaMon-
    was unshaven quietand smoking
                   and                     a           from the kitchen. I turned off the oven            tagne's Troublelhe album that he and
    cigarette," DeVellas  remembers.   "So I           and went to workMonday.Thiswouldbe                 Addiehad loved, musicthathad car-
          'What                                                                                           ried them throughthe harrowing     storm.
    said,                    He
                happened?' looksat me                  the last day I'd work.
               'Me                                                                                                        Bowen got up from the
    and goes,      and Addiesplit,man.We                 Arriving  homethatnight,    Bowen   found        At 6:30 a.H,r.,
    had a real falling-out. She packed her             himself  overcome    with horrorand self-          couch,shookDeVellas's     hand,and said,
    bags,took someof my money,     and went            hatred. blotoutwhathe had done,he
                                                               To                                         "l'm going on vacation,   see you later."
    to NorthCarollna. Laterthat day, De-               plungedintoan oblivion drinking
                                                                                  of           and        Then Bowenwalkedto the Omni Royal
    Vellassays he wonderedif Bowen had                 drugs, guzzlingbottlesof Jameson's,                Orleanshotel on St. Louis Street,rode
    killedHali but dismissed    the idea be-           snorting  thick railsof cocaine, throwing          the elevator the eighthfloor,had a few
                                                                                                          drinksat the rooftopbar, and leapedoff
                                                                                                          the side. The hotel securitycameras
                                                                                                          caughtBowenrehearsing jump, but
                                                                                                          on hisfinalrun thereseemedto be little
                                                                                                          hesitation. Indeed,Bowen's    friendssay
                                                                                                          he probably   planned meticulously his
                                                                                                          suicide, citingthe notein his pocketand
                                                                                                          hischoice theOmniRoyal's , which
                                                                                                                     of                  roof
                                                                                                          hasa panoramic    viewof St.Louis Cathe-
                                                                                                          dral in JacksonSquare-where Bowen
                                                                                                          was married 2000.

                                                                                                          llew           Orleanshas alwaysattracteda
                                                                                                          llparticularly hardytype of bohemian
                                                                                                          who refusesto be bowed by the city's
                                                                                                          c h a l l e n g e s , o m i t s h i g h c r i m er a t et o
                                                                                                          i t s h e l l i s h l y o t w e a t h e rB u t s i n c eK a -
                                                                                                                                h                  .
                                                                                                          t r i n a N e wO r l e a n s e e m s v e r w h e l m e d
                                                                                                          4 . , ^ ^ ^ - ^ L ^ + fI , ^ rhl.y.J^ u^ ^ ' a n d e m o t i o n a l .
                                                                                                                                     p        r 4l
                                                                                                          uy DUql D, uuLr
                                                                                        Even in the mostly unscathedFrench
                                                                                        Q u a r t e rp i l e so f d e b r i sr e m a i nO n o n e
                                                                                                        ,                                       .
                                                                                        street,someonestackedrefuseinto a
                                                                                        t r u c k a n d p l a c e da s i g n o n i t r e a d i n g
                                                                                        nncN's Lrnlo-a jab at New Orleans
                                                                                        m a y o rR a y N a g i n .T h a tb i t t e rh u m o ri s
                                                                                        detectable elsewhere-on Bourbon
                                                                                        Streetthereare T-shirts sale featur-         for
                                                                                        ing fuck-you              rantsto Allstate          Insurance
                                                                                        Company and FEMA-but it's often
                                                                                        s u b s u m e d y a n e a r - t a n g i bfl e a rt h a t
                                                                                        t h e c i t ym i g h tn e v e rc o m e b a c k .
                                                                                             The feel of a city in transition only                is
                                                                                        magnif by the transience its pop-
                                                                                                      ied                                  of
                                                                                        ulace;nearlyone{hirdof the city'sresi-
                                                                                        d e n t sw i l l n e v e rc o m e b a c k , O n l yt h e
                                                                                        s t r o n g e s to f s o u l s s e e m w i l l i r g t o
                                                                                        weathersuch persistent                        despair.
                                                                                              ln November,             Zack and Addie'sbe-
                                                                                        l o n g i n g s - t h e r e d d e l i v e r yb i k e , t h e
                                                                                        d n l l r r h a r r c a r { l n n a r, . h ', r sp o s s e s s l o n s
                                                                                                                        ,* i ,
                                                                                        back and forth,theirtoasteroven and
                                                                                        c o f f e em a c h i n e - s a tu n c l a i m e dn t h e   i
    cause it was "not something      you can downhundreds dollars lapdances, leafycourtyardof their North Rampart
                                                             of         for
    evencomprehend frienddoing."
                       a                      and disappearing two days.Whenhe Street
                                                                for                                  apartment.         And likethe otherde-
      When Bowenreturnedto North Ram- emerged,he and DeVellas               took a cab bris gatheredalong the street.and the
    part Streetjust after9 ",v, that night he down to the FrenchQuarter,   whereBow- spiritof the city itself lt seemedno one ,
    began dismembering       Halls corpse: / en boughtDeVellas    drinks and lapdanc- was comingto pick them uP.o+i
    came home, moved the body to the tub, es with a stripper     dressedas a police-
    got a saw and hacked off her feet,hands woman. "He was back to being old Ethan Brown has written for Wtred,
    and head, he wrote.Put her head in the Zack-happy-go-lucky,        smiling,having Vibe GQ, RollingStone, and others.
    oven (aftergiving it an awful haircut)put a greattime,"DeVellas  remembers.    "But He is the author of Queens Reigns
    her hands and feet in the water on the thenhe saidsomething mirrored
                                                                      that          ex- Supreme:Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the
    range. Then I got drunk(er) and some actlywhatAddiehad saidabouthimthe R i s eo f t h e H i o - H o o u s i l e r .       H

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