Slain police officer Daryle Holloway, 45, was laid to rest Saturday by a congregation that represented all walks of New Orleans life.
Ushers at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church handed out memorial blue-and-black lapel ribbons bearing Holloway’s portrait to the broad mix of people who attended the standing-room-only service, including the officer’s family, friends and neighbors, scores of children he’d mentored and even a few people he’d arrested over the years.
Holloway was killed seven days earlier while transporting an arrested man, Travis Boys, 33, who police say wriggled partially free of his handcuffs and fatally shot Holloway before escaping on foot. Boys was apprehended 24 hours later after a massive manhunt.
Top officials lauded Holloway on Saturday as a fallen hero and an example to others.
“He showed what it truly meant to be one with the community, to protect and to serve,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who challenged the audience to help ensure that Holloway’s death “transforms us from a city that is engulfed in violence to a city of peace.”
Hundreds of fellow New Orleans Police Department officers, many of them wiping tears from their eyes, mourned “Officer Holly” as a friend and 22-year colleague who brought both unflinching courage and buoyant humor to the job.
“Thank you for your service to the city. And thank you for being our friend,” said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, who became pals with Holloway while working with him in the 6th District a few decades ago and who tracked his progress as an officer.
“I watched him in neighborhoods where everyone waved at him and called him by name,” said Harrison, noting that those bonds of trust strengthened the department because neighbors called Holloway personally when they had information needed to solve crimes.
While community policing is often seen as an unimplemented ideal, Holloway “brought the theory to reality each and every day,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, who grew up across Kerlerec Street from the Holloway family.
Several pews back, Shirley Walker, 84, said she had known Holloway since he was a toddler and had observed him at work. “When he was called to the scene, you’d think he was in the family, the way he acted,” she said.
His approach was always warm, said Ruthie Jefferson, 63, whose son was a lifelong friend of Holloway’s. “If he had any problems, you never knew it,” she said. “He always kept that happy look.”
The scent of lilies wafted through the air from a sanctuary overflowing with flowers. Some sprays of mums were shaped into the NOPD’s crescent and star logo; others spelled out “911” and “5th District,” the police station in the Upper 9th Ward where Holloway was assigned.
His alma mater, St. Augustine High School, played a prominent role on Saturday.
The school’s anthem was sung as part of the funeral service, and two members of the school’s signature purple-and-gold color guard stood at attention by the door of the church.
Starting at 7 a.m., lines ran out the door as people showed up to say goodbye to Holloway and view his body, laid out in his casket in his robin’s egg blue NOPD uniform.
As the ceremony began, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond recalled how, as a skinny eighth-grader at St. Augustine, he was shielded from bullies by Holloway and his best friend Louis Age, who were then solidly built seniors at the school. “Honor his life by living the way he lived,” Richmond said.
Age, known as “Big Lou,” said the two bonded at age 14, maybe because of their similar physiques.
Even now, at age 45, the two men were inseparable to the point that they’d go grocery shopping together and talked on the phone every morning.
Age said he hadn’t been sleeping at night since his friend was killed, and that he struggled to understand how such a kind-hearted man ended up a victim. “The dude was such a great man,” he said. “He gave so much of himself to everybody.”
In the congregation, St. Augustine classmates Gregory Townsend and Sidney St. Martin nodded.
St. Martin, who wore a lavender shirt as a nod to St. Augustine, said the speakers’ descriptions of Holloway were spot-on. “If Daryle knew you, you were his friend,” he said.
Holloway’s funeral cortege, which included motorcycles and cars carrying hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the region, drew onlookers all along its route from St. Maria Goretti in New Orleans East to St. Louis Cemetery No. 3 on Esplanade Avenue.
Those standing along the procession’s route in the Upper 9th Ward included John E. Fields, 58, who said he saw an outpouring of grief across town after Holloway was slain. “People were crying and falling out all over the 7th, 8th and 9th wards. And Uptown too,” said Fields, who described the officer as a “peacemaker.”
Margaret Johnston, 58, stood next to Fields, proudly wearing a memorial T-shirt that bore a photo of the slain officer on the front and the slogan “There’s no way like Holloway” on the back.
“They shoulda patented him,” she said.
Cynthia Shelby, 45, hadn’t known Holloway personally, but she and her son Huegh, 11, drove from the West Bank to see the procession. “I wanted Huegh to see what it was like to earn the highest honor as a police officer and to be an African-American man who lived to a high standard,” she said, as Huegh took iPhone images and texted them to his friends.
Tyrone “Tuffy” Nelson, 43, said he had a few run-ins with law enforcement in his youth and so sometimes shies away from officers. But he often saw Holloway at second-line parades, and they became friends. “He’d greet me like I’d never had a charge in my life, like I’d never been arrested,” said Nelson, who came to North Claiborne Avenue with his wife to pay respects.
As the white hearse passed the 5th District station on North Claiborne, Holloway’s colleagues, led by Cmdr. Christopher Goodly, lined the street to stand at attention and offer a final white-gloved salute to their comrade.
With that, Holloway’s watch was formally completed, or, as Goodly put it: “Holly, we got it from here. Rest in peace.”
Inside the cemetery, before a 21-gun salute, the department staged another ritual, known as a “last call.”
At the gravesite, an amplified voice said, “Headquarters to Badge No. 1708, Officer Daryle Holloway.”
Though the message was repeated three times, there was no response.