Zack and Addie: Bad Vibe Apartment
CYBERFROG 2077 - FIRST LIVING ROBOT MADE FROM FROG STEM CELLS, CALLED XENOBOTS ARE SMALL ENOUGH TO SWIM THROUGHOUT YOUR BODY! I’m Tazmen -
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Alright, so now that housekeeping is out of the way, Bryson - do you remember how on our very first episode, when talking about the Cecil Hotel, you called it an apartment building by accident? It was all foreshadowing for this. The story of Zach and Addie: Bad Vibe Apartment.
And that is Tangent Avenue canon. Next question, though - you like hot girls right? What about literal, hot, burnt, and crispy girls?
Hell yes. Let’s dig right in.
So, on October 17th , 2006, around 8:30 PM the police received a phone call stating that they had discovered a man’s body on the roof of a parking garage in New Orleans. The police arrived on the scene to find a severely mangled corpse, with no idea if it was a suicide, accident, or homicide - but that quickly changed when they found a note in his pocket. And I’m gonna start this off by reading you part of that note.
“This is not accidental. I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took.
If you send a patrol to 826 N. Rampart you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge along with full documentation on the both of us and a full signed confession from myself…”
To the outside world, people believed their relationship was healthy and that they were happy, but the story was different to those around them, as they argued often and at times, it would get very bad. Regardless of this, everybody, even their closest friends, were still shocked to find out that Zach Bowen had killed his loving girlfriend Addie Hall and then took his own life. However, we’re going to dismantle the public illusion of a healthy relationship fairly quickly, but first, some backstory on the individuals involved.
I’m going to quote on ghost city tours in New Orleans on Zach and Addie:
Quote: “Zack Bowen was a charismatic, charming, and good-looking young man who left an impression on everyone he met. He grew up in California and had the laid back attitude that comes from growing up on the sunny Pacific beaches. Zack married young, to a woman 10 years his senior named Lana. They had two children together and in order to care for them, he joined the army for the benefits it could provide. When Lana took the kids and decided to leave him, Zack was devastated and lonely. He found odd jobs around the French Quarter after being generally discharged subsequent to his tours overseas in Iraq and Kosovo. Zack was a war hero suffering from severe PTSD who desperately needed help that he never found. Addie Hall was a free-spirited, feisty-tempered, independent artist who found herself in bohemian New Orleans after a rough life in the northeast states. A poet, artist, dancer, and French Quarter bartender with a host of friends, Addie Hall was weary of relationships with men because of the abuse she experienced in her past. She rode her bike around the quarter to get where she needed to go, and to her job as bartender at The Spotted Cat. She called herself a “quarterican”, someone who belonged in and was part of the French Quarter. Life as an artist is never easy though, you try to balance artistic expression with your surroundings and lifestyle and you are never sure where the pieces fit together. Addie fit there right in the middle, trying to find herself and her muse, all the while battling her own demons and addictions.” End Quote.
The two met while they were both bartending in the French Quarter. Addie liked to give Zach a hard time and play the “mean girl” as a way of flirting. In actuality, this method of flirting was also meant to test to see what Zach could handle. Addie suffered from bipolar disorder and she didn’t regularly take her medication, which would cause angry and uncontrollable outburst. Many of their friends claimed to remember outrageous fights between the two.
Hey Bryson, do you remember hurricane Katrina? Yeah, I was living in Louisiana at the time and my location, Natchitoches, didn’t suffer a lot of damage but we did get flooding. I remember waking up for school to find it was cancelled and I had walked outside to see water everywhere. We ended up having to stay in a motel because of all of the flooding and our power had gone out because we lived a ways out of town, and even fishing in the gutters for crawdad. What a different life I would’ve had if I hadn’t moved. I probably would’ve been a huge piece of shit.
Anyways, Zach and Addie were of course in New Orleans during it which was only 4 hours away from my location, which is weird to think about. While there, they had decided not to leave and stick out the category 5 hurricane that killed nearly 2,000 people together in Addie’s apartment. They became pretty much inseparable at this point and served up booze and meals to others who either couldn’t evacuate or decided to stay. Oh, also Addie became known for flashing police officers.
The two were even photographed for national magazines and newspapers for their relief efforts and were interviewed about their choice to stay in the city. I’m going to quote from an article off “The Rumpus” now: Quote. “The beginning of their romance coincided with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, and Brown evocatively describes the couple’s days as Katrina holdouts. They made camp in the un-flooded French Quarter, throwing improvised dinner parties for friends by candlelight, and making love in the middle of the deserted streets. For two people already undone by trauma—Hall had been sexually abused as a child—the chaos of Katrina made a kind of sense.
The disaster seemed to have washed away their pasts… and created a world in which they could fall in love. On the rare occasions when Zack and Addie left the perimeter of the Governor Nicholls apartment, they biked down the French Quarter’s streets holding hands as they pedaled.
As “survivors” they thrived. But as city residents slowly began to trickle back into New Orleans and life regained a sense of normalcy—jobs, rent, rules—Bowen and Hall found themselves bound together by a connection that could not last. The relationship became increasingly toxic. Bowen sought out relationships with other men and Hall hinted to friends that, despite his nice guy image, he had done terrible things in Iraq. They would wake from a night of heavy drinking and find themselves covered in bruises that neither could remember inflicting on the other.” Unquote.
Zach and Addie just wanted each other, they didn’t want all the work of a relationship, the honeymoon phase was over. The physical and emotional abuse phase had begun. The only thing that numbed the pain they inflicted on each other was the cast amounts of alcohol and drugs they had begun to consume.
As the fights began to become increasingly violent and the pair began to drift apart, they decided to get a new apartment to start from scratch. They would go on to rent an apartment above a then famed Voodoo temple. Pretty much right as they were moving in on October 4th, Addie found out that Zach had been cheating on her and went to the landlord asking for the lease to be put only in her name.
The landlord refused, the lease had already been signed, and told her to go home and try to work it out with her boyfriend. And… that would be the last time anyone would see her alive.
Around 1am on Thursday, October 5th, 2006 Zach strangled Addie to death in a drunken state. He committed several acts of necrophilia in a drunken state that night and fell asleep next to her corpse, woke up the next day, and went to work. He then returned home from work, moved her body to the bathtub, and began to dismember her with a handsaw and a knife. He then set the thermostat to 60 degrees and went about his normal routine for four days before deciding how to dispose of Addie’s chopped up remains.
He dispersed the remains into and on top of the stove, placed her feet and hands inside of another pot on the back burner of the stove, her legs and arms in a roasting pan inside of the oven, and her torso in a black plastic trash bag in the fridge to be dealt with later. He claimed his intentions for this were to separate bone from flesh as a means to more easily handle the disposing of her body. Many at the time believed that Zach had intentions of cannibalism, but there was no mention of this in his signed confession nor did the autopsy reports confirm any signs of it.
Between October 6th and October 17th, when anyone asked where Addie was, Zach would tell them that she left him and went back to North Carolina. Some of their friends were surprised because of how much she loved New Orleans, while others weren’t as they knew that Addie could be very unpredictable and had a tendency to run away from situations out of her control.
And, of course, on Tuesday evening October 17th, 2006, nearly two weeks after he murdered his girlfriend, Zachary Bowen took another life - this time his own - by jumping off the 7th floor of the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. He left a handwritten note, his army dog tags, and the gate keys to Addie’s apartment. As the police arrived at the apartment, they quickly realized that the contents of Zach’s note were, in fact, true.
I’m going to quote again from Ghost City Tours:
Quote. “The first thing (the police) noticed was the temperature and lack of smell. The air conditioning was set to 60 degrees and on full blast, cold like a meat locker. There was no smell of rotting flesh and the bathroom was clean of any lingering blood. On the walls were the silver-colored spray painted words of “I love her”, “I’m a total failure”, and finally “look in the oven” with an arrow pointing to the stove door. What the detectives discovered next is something I am sure will stay with them the rest of their lives as they opened pot covers and a heavy refrigerator door.” End quote.
They also discovered that Zach had added entries into Addie’s journal, and I’ll read those now as well:
"Today is Monday 16 October 2 a.m. I killed her at 1 a.m. Thursday 5 October. I very calmly strangled her. It was very quick.
Halfway through the task, I stopped and thought about what I was doing. The decision to halt the first idea and move to Plan B (the crime scene you are now in) came after a while. I scared myself not by the action of calmly strangling the woman I've loved for one and a half years, and then (desecrating) her body but by my entire lack of remorse. I've known for forever how horrible of a person I am -- ask anyone -- and decided to quit my jobs and spend the 1,500 cash I had being happy until I killed myself. So, that's what I did: good food, good drugs, good strippers, good friends and any loose ends I may have had. I didn't contact any of my family. So that'll explain the shock. And had a fantastic time living out my days ... It's just about time now.”
So, signed confessions, literal letters on the walls, and there’s still the question as to what brought Zack to do this. Before we get into those theories, though, do you know one thing we don’t have to theorize about?
Alright, theories. As always, I’ll be saving my favorite for last. This time it’s my favorite for one reason and one reason only, which we’ll get into.
So, of course there’s the bad vibe apartment theory. The pair moved into the infamous apartment at 826 N. Rampart St above Priestess Miriam’s Voodoo Spiritual Temple shortly before the incident. Many people hold the belief that the “dark” voodoo history of the location had something to do with Zack’s overwhelming mental illness and violent outburst that culminated in the murder of Addie. The building was built in 1829 by Pierre de Verges and handed down and sold over the years, until 1991 when Priestess Miriam and her then husband Priest Oswan Chamani moved The Voodoo Spiritual Temple to this location and they remained there until February 2016 when a fire broke out and destroyed much of the building.
Tenants of the apartment above the temple, of course before it burnt down, claimed to have experienced some paranormal activity like feelings of being watched, hearing voices, and feeling like the walls are being pressed in. The building is currently being leased by another voodoo priestess who has turned it into a museum of the paranormal with tours of the apartment, because of course. Gotta love grifters.
Then, there’s of course mental illness combined with the use of drugs and alcohol. Zack was diagnosed with PTSD. Zack was an active duty member of the military in Iraq and Kosovo pre-nine-eleven and was deployed again following the tragedy. He was traumatized by a friend’s sudden death, as well as the death of a child who he befriended that was killed for conversing with American soldiers. He began to purposely fail his health and fitness tests so he could go back home and be with his family and his ailing wife, Lana, who was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and was very ill. He was generally discharged, losing all health benefits, and went back to New Orleans where his mind slowly failed him as he transitioned to civilian life. I’m going to quote from a 2009 article on The Rumpus that describes this very well: Quote. “Ethan Brown sees in this tragic story the reflection of two of the great tragedies of our generation: the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. Just as the government bungled its response to the storm, leaving hundreds of New Orleanians dead and thousands permanently displaced, so too, he argues, has it failed to recognize the emotional, physical, and financial needs of soldiers returning from Iraq. He makes a compelling case that the effects of the storm on its survivors are closely related to the effects of PTSD among war veterans. The skyrocketing murder rate in post-Katrina New Orleans, and the continuing stories of violence among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, are strong anecdotal evidence that death and killing does not stop with the initial trauma. In dissecting the extreme case of Zackery Bowen, Brown shows how little is being done by the government and the military to help the victims and veterans when they return home.” End quote.
So PTSD twice over. Iraq and Katrina. That’s a good combination, right?
Some place a bit more blame on Addie than I like, but I’ll still go over the next part of this theory: according to some accounts as well, Zack had every intention of leaving the city during Katrina and staying with his estranged wife, Lana, and their kids. The hurricane was so severe that Lana even offered to let Addie stay with them, but Addie’s desire for independence and a life all her own with her new boyfriend far exceeded any need she had to leave the city. Before leaving town, Zack had gone to check on Addie and couldn’t bring himself to leave her, so they decided to weather the storm together in her apartment.
Weeks later, when the city had begun to recover, Zack and Addie watched as people went back to their normal lives and they longed for the time when they had the city to themselves, when their love was so strong they felt on top of the world. Zack became increasingly hard to console as military vehicles moved in and the destruction Katrina left was finally revealed. His PTSD was hitting hard and with the natural high of the hurricane gone from their lives, they went looking for their high in other places, via drugs and alcohol.
The next theory is, uh. Interesting. In a documentary about Zack and Addie, a friend of the couple Margaret Sanchez cried tears of devastation at the loss of her best friends. Margaret would later plead guilty in 2012 for the murder and dismemberment of Jaren Lockhart, a Bourbon street dancer and young mother.
Margaret and her boyfriend who she knew as Allen at the time, lured Jaren away with the promise of a hefty paycheck for a “private performance” to their home, stabbed her in the chest, cut up her body, and threw it over a bridge.
Allen’s real name wasn’t Allen. His real name was Terry Speaks and was a registered sex offender from North Carolina with a long history of crime that Margaret was unaware of. When she was still claiming her innocence, Margaret related the death of Janel and Addie: Quote. “"I felt so bad for her family, because I had a friend, my friend was Addie Hall, she was cut up and was cooked, and her boyfriend jumped off a hotel."
There’s also the very real, good, and believable theory that the Boogeyman of New Orleans, The Axeman, had possessed Zack to do it. A brief overview of this story states that in 1911 and 1912, 49 similar murders to that of Addie, and by similar I do just mean the dismembering part, were committed in Louisiana and parts of Texas. In May of 1918 a year and a half killing spree similar to the previous took place in the French Quarter that still remains unsolved to this day. Witnesses or survivors would claim to see a shadowy or phantom-like figure fleeing the scene of the crimes, one witness even described a phantom that disappeared quickly like it had wings.
Now, I’m going to read you a letter that this murderer left behind that will explain why people think this could be the case. This is the reason this is my favorite, and I want to point out that this letter is real. Very real. It was genuinely published on March 14th 1919 in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
“Hell, March 13, 1919
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know who they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.
If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am; for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don‘t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.
Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people.
Here it is:
I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.
Alright Bryson, what’s your final thoughts?
There’s many questions about what exactly led Zack to killing Addie, and unfortunately we’ll probably never know for sure. But more than likely it was a combination of an untreated severe case of PTSD 2x over, drugs, alcohol, lies, cheating, and domestic abuse. A perfect cocktail for a murder/suicide.