by Kevin Allman
Our cover story is a lengthy excerpt from Shake the Devil Off, Ethan Brown's acclaimed new book about a post-Katrina French Quarter crime that made sensationalistic -- and often inaccurate -- headlines around the country:
Zackery Bowen was thrust into two of Americas 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 citys history. How had this popular, handsome father of two done this horrible thing?
Clancy DuBos previews the next big fight over New Orleans public schools ...
This week, Rep. Charlie Melancon announced his intention to challenge Sen. David Vitter in the fall 2010 Senate race. A year away, and both candidates are already throwing elbows -- and practicing dodges (Melancon on town hall meetings, Vitter on, well, Vittergate). Jeremy Alford analyzes the matchup.
In Suspect Device, Greg Peters reacts to President Obama's decision not to visit New Orleans on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina...
And David Winkler-Schmit takes a look at Shirley Q. Liquor (aka Charles Knipp), the blackface drag comedian who's been a regular performer at Southern Decadence. This year's performance was billed as Shirley Q.'s swan song, but her appearance was abruptly cancelled last week with little explanation. Winkler spent days trying to track down anyone who would talk about Shirley Q.'s outrageous and controversial act, with very little luck -- until Shirley Q. herself contacted him this morning after the issue went to press. He'll have more from and about Shirley Q. next week on the Blog of New Orleans, but if you want to see what all the fuss was about, read the story, "Shirley Q., Where Are You?," and check out this CNN report, which features footage of Shirley Q. performing at Southern Decadence 2007: