In Memory of



Obituary for Warren Woodfork

Warren Gene Woodfork, Sr., the first African American Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department, entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Mr. Woodfork is the eldest of eight children born in Opelousas, LA to the late Willie, Jr. and Lucille Jolivet Woodfork. He relocated to New Orleans with his family at a young age. Mr. Woodfork is a graduate of Joseph S. Clark High School and attended Xavier University of Louisiana. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his loving wife, Marie Walker Woodfork; son, Warren Gene Woodfork, Jr.; siblings, Sharon G. Merrick, Lottie J. Woodfork, Sandra A. Carriere, Willie Woodfork, III and Don B. Woodfork. Mr. Woodfork leaves to cherish precious memories, his children, Debra A. Woodfork, Richard C. Woodfork and Patrick Woodfork; siblings, Richard M. Woodfork (Tina) and Ida K. Woodfork; grandchildren, Lauren, Lacey, Leah and Master Woodfork. Also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends, including those following in his legacy of law and law enforcement, Ret. United States Postal Inspector, Samuel Huntley, Jr., New Orleans Police Captain, Michelle Woodfork and United States Magistrate, Judge Dana M. Douglas. Mr. Woodfork was appointed in 1985 by the city's first Black mayor, Ernest "Dutch" Morial and served a second term under the next mayor, Sidney Barthelemy before retiring in 1991. He was previously employed as a postal clerk and also served his country in the United States Air Force before his 28 year career in law enforcement. Woodfork became the first commander of the Felony Action Squad, which operated for 10 years beginning in 1972. He was also instrumental in making the Police Department's district captains accessible to neighborhood residents and business owners. Woodfork, a product of the Calliope and Lafitte Housing developments, believed in community engagement. He saw the future of community policing by increasing the visibility of top ranking officers in their district area and exchanging information with the people and businesses of the districts regularly, which was not the case before Woodfork. A trailblazer in his own right, Mr. Woodfork is responsible for appointing the first female Deputy Chief of the New Orleans Police Department, Yvonne Bechet; the first female district commander, Carol Hewitt, who was assigned to the Seventh District. He later appointed her as the first female commander of the Narcotics Drug Abuse unit in NOPD history. Throughout his administration, Woodfork also sought creative programs and concepts to target the juvenile crime problem and the growing level of violence by including programming in education, music and sports, as the three most important ingredients needed to lead young people away from crime. Woodfork was a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was a member of the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCAA), Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), International Association of Chiefs of Police, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), New Orleans Black Organization of Police (BOP) and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement , (NOBLE). Woodfork retired in 1991 to spend more time with his family. Prior to his retirement, he obtained funding for 200 new officers, along with the purchase of additional cars and equipment stating, "This is a chance for me to give my successor a better start than I had." Since that time, generations have enjoyed the love of his advice, joke telling and cooking. "Chief" Warren Woodfork, Sr. will lie in state with full ceremonial honors provided by the New Orleans Police Department at Gallier Hall on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 from 12 o'clock noon until 5 PM. A Mass of Christian burial honoring the life and legacy of the late Ret. Chief Warren Gene Woodfork, Sr. will be held at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, 1923 St. Philip Street, New Orleans, LA 70116 on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 11 AM. A PRIVATE Interment will be held at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, Slidell, LA at a later date. Visitation 8:30 AM in the church.