On October 17, 2006, New Orleans police received a 911 call from the Omni Hotel. A man had thrown himself from the hotel’s roof and landed five stories down on the top of a parking garage. Soon after, homicide was called. Why were homicide detectives called to the scene of an apparent suicide? The answer to that question was in the victim’s front pocket: a detailed suicide note that not only explained why the jumper killed himself, but where police could find the pieces of his girlfriend. This is the tragic tale of Addie Hall and Zack Bowen. Murder-Suicide in the Big Easy.
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Description from Amazon:
A charismatic young soldier meets a tragic end in this moving and mesmerizing account of the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and no-safety-net America
Zackery Bowen was thrust into two of America’s largest recent debacles. He was one of the first soldiers to encounter the fledgling insurgency in Iraq. After years of military service he returned to New Orleans to tend bar and deliver groceries. In the weeks before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, he met Addie Hall, a pretty and high-spirited bartender. Their improvised, hard-partying endurance during and after the storm had news outlets around the world featuring the couple as the personification of what so many want to believe is the indomitable spirit of New Orleans.
But in October 2006, Bowen leaped from the rooftop bar of a French Quarter hotel. A note in his pocket directed the police to the body of Addie Hall. It was, according to NOPD veterans, one of the most gruesome crimes in the city’s history. How had this popular, handsome father of two done this horrible thing?
Journalist Ethan Brown moved from New York City to the French Quarter in order to investigate this question. Among the newsworthy elements in the book is Brown’s discovery that this tragedy—like so many others—could have been avoided if the military had simply not, in the words of Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, “absolutely and completely failed this soldier.” Shake the Devil Off is a mesmerizing tribute to these lives lost.