Coroner Bio

Frank Minyard, M.D., Coroner

Dr. Minyard has served as Coroner of Orleans Parish since 1974.

Frank Minyard is a New Orleans native who attended P.A. Capdau Grammar School, Holy Cross High School, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and biology from LSU College. Dr. Minyard graduated from the LSU School of Medicine in 1955 and did his residency at Charity Hospital, New Orleans. He was a Clinical Associate Professor for Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tulane School of Medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor for Emergency Medicine and Pathology at LSU.

Dr. Minyard served two years active duty on the U.S.S. Yellowstone AD-27 and Drug Liaison for Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations from 1971-1975. He retired with the rank of Captain after twelve years of service in the U.S. Navy Reserve.


Dr. Minyard serves the people of New Orleans by maintaining the highest professional standards by employing Board Certified Forensic Pathologists, Forensic Psychiatrists, Forensic Anthropologists, Forensic Odontologists, Forensic Toxicologists and Forensic Medicolegal Death Investigators. Dr. Minyard has also instituted state-of-the-art computerized records databases.

As Coroner, Dr. Minyard established the most recognized and nationally accredited forensic toxicology laboratory in the South. Dr. Minyard is currently working to re-establish this forensic toxicology laboratory that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina AND in an effort to combine function, specializations, and for major cost-saving benefits, is working to combine it with the police crime laboratory under the auspices of the New Orleans Forensic Center/New Orleans Coroner’s Office and the New Orleans Police Department.

Dr. Minyard established the local Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiner (SANE) program for the dignified examination of rape victims and collection of forensic evidence of rape. The SANE nurses have improved the investigation, arrest, and trial of rape perpetrators.

Legislative Statutes

After two years of effort and overcoming much resistance, Dr. Minyard and Dr. John C. McDonald, with the assistance of Dr. Alton Ochsner, Sr. and Archbishop Philip Hannan were responsible for the passage by the Louisiana State Legislature of the Definition of Death/Brain Death Statute in 1978. This statute established the framework for Louisiana organ donations and advance directives.

Dr. Minyard laid the groundwork for the Louisiana State Legislature to enact mandatory seatbelt laws and safety regulations for childrenSeatbelt
in vehicles. A component of this seatbelt program was a song written and performed by Dr. Minyard as well as his publication titled “Quietest
Room In Town”, an essay about drinking, driving and experience your body goes through at the Coroner’s Office when you die.

Public Health Initiatives

  • Child abuse awareness
  • Drug abuse awareness
  • The Head Clinic – Dr. Minyard worked at this free clinic, open throughout the night hours only, on Decatur Street in the French Quarter for the homeless; Mike Stark director.
  • Bethlehem House of Bread – opened the first methadone clinic in the City; for female heroin addicts only; 100 patients came daily for physicals and treatment; run by the Dominican nuns at the old St. Augustine’s school.
  • Child Safety and Child Seatbelt Initiative – public awareness campaign
  • Let’s Stay Alive – regular column on forensic topics
  • Improved care of psychiatric patients – brought in five psychiatrists to issue Orders of Protective Custody and interview psychiatric patients
  • Established first prison drug treatment program in the entire United States at the Orleans Parish Prison in 1974 along with Sheriff Foti and Odyssey House.
  • Health reform in jails – improved health conditions and helped secure funding for the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office so there would be dedicated medical staff on site at the jails
  • Introduced bumper stickers and billboards for public health issues including drug abuse, child abuse, and seatbelt restraints

Military Health

Served as Drug Liaison from 1971-1975 under Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations through the Department of Human Resources during which time Captain Minyard helped establish multiple drug treatment centers throughout the country for Navy personnel, made numerous educational films, created literature, and gave lectures to many Navy personnel all over the world.

Organ Donation

Within the limits of Louisiana law and only after families have given permission, the Coroner’s Office cooperates with Southern Eye Bank and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency for organ donations.

Civic Organizations (present and past)

  • President, New Orleans Katrina Memorial
  • Chair, Federation of Churches Child Abuse CommitteeDr. Minyard
  • Member, Odyssey House, Advisory Board
  • Member, Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Greater New Orleans
  • Member, Metropolitan New Orleans Council on Aging, Board of Directors
  • Chair, American Foundation of Negro Affairs, Board of Directors
  • Member-at-Large, National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana
  • Member, Sesquicentennial Celebration, Sisters of the Holy Family, Steering Committee
  • Member, Holy Cross High School, Headmaster’s Council, New Orleans
  • Member, Violent Crime and Homicide Task Force
  • Member, Committee to Honor Buddy Bolden, Delgado Community College, New Orleans
  • Founder and President, Jazz Roots Foundation

Began in 1974 with first charity event in 1975; assisted charities in Greater New Orleans area in fundraising by providing the charities with tickets that they sold and kept 100% of ticket sales, money was never handled by Jazz Roots Foundation; charity event occurred once a year for 29 years; more than 200 charitable organizations benefited; hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised by the charities.

Publications (present and past)

Dr. Minyard has authored ten (10) booklets describing homicide, rape and suicide scene in New Orleans, and more than fifty (50) published articles covering a vast array of topics including suicide facts, accidental drownings, serial homicides, satanic homicides, drug-related deaths, overall crime rate in New Orleans, and three editions of the Louisiana Coroner’s Handbook.

Professional Organizations (present and past)

  • Member, National Association of Medical Examiners
  • President and Member, Louisiana State Coroner’s Association
  • President, International Association of Coroner’s and Medical Examiners
  • Member, Orleans Parish Medical Society
  • Member, Louisiana State Medical Society
  • Fellow, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Pathology Section
  • Member, American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Editorial Board
  • Chair, Louisiana State Medical Society Committee on Definition of Death and Human Organ Transplants
  • Member, American Society of Law and Medicine
  • Member, American Association of Automotive Medicine
  • Member, The New York Academy of Sciences
  • Member, American Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists
  • Member, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
  • Member, American College of Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Member, North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology
  • Member, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
  • Member, Gynecological Laser Surgery
  • Member, The American Fertility Society