He was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Ismar Noa (1836-1906) of Breslau in Poland; and Rose B. Loveman (1842-1923) of Hungary. His siblings were: Ernestine Noa (1871-1951); Bianca Noa (1874-1945) who married Albert Hodges Morehead, Sr. (1852-1922); and Wallace Noa (1876-1908).
Noa was appointed to the Naval Academy as a midshipman on September 5, 1896. He graduated in June of 1900, and was ordered to the Asiatic Station in gunboat Mariveles. On the morning of October 26, 1901 Midshipman Noa, with an armed crew of six men, put off from the Mariveles in a small boat to watch for craft engaged in smuggling contraband from the island of Leyte to Samar. When ready to return to the Mariveles, they found the wind and the tide against them. The boat was taking on water, and they put into a small cove on the island of Samar. While scouting the adjacent jungle, Noa was attacked and stabbed five times by Filipino insurgents, three times in the abdomen, one in the thorax and one in his left shoulder. He was then given a blow to the head. He died after fifteen minutes, before aid could reach him. He was buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
USS Noa (DD-343) and Noa (DD-841) were named for him.