Family of tourist slain in New Orleans hit-and-run urges driver to come forward

Matt Sledge

The New Orleans Advocate

Joshua Woodruff
Joshua Woodruff

In 2016, Caren Woodruff was going to finally write the concerto she had always wanted to compose. Her 28-year-old son Joshua was going to help her. A gifted pianist who had studied music at Harvard University, he had always taken naturally to composing, his mother said. All he had to do was sit down at the keyboard.

“Great, we’re on it,” she recalled him saying. “It’s going to happen this year.”

Instead, Joshua Woodruff was identified Tuesday as the victim of a brutal hit-and-run that took place in the French Quarter in the early hours of New Year’s Day, snuffing out a life family members described as happy and promising.

Visiting from California, Woodruff was struck while he was waiting for an Uber ride, police say. He was dragged for several miles, his body ending up across the Mississippi River in Algiers.

Authorities on Tuesday renewed their call for the public’s help in tracking down the driver. The Woodruff family is asking the perpetrator to come forward.

“We want the person who was driving to know that we forgive him or her, and we want that person to turn him or herself in. We need that,” said Joshua’s brother Ben, 30. “We have no interest in retribution, but we do want justice to be done here, so that other families don’t have to suffer the same hardship.”

You can read more of this story on the New Orleans Advocate's website.