Contact: Marcus Creel
Public Information Officer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD) and NOLA-311
Bring Home Silver Anvil Award from PRSA New Orleans 2021 Fleurish Awards
NEW ORLEANS, LA – (December 13, 2021) On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, the New Orleans 9-1-1 and NOLA-311 Public Engagement Team – consisting of OPCD Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Marcus Creel, Public Engagement Specialist, Sierra Wallace, and former Public Engagement Manager, Chelsea Porché – was selected to win 10 communications awards, including the coveted Silver Anvil and PR Pandemic Pivot Hero awards, by the New Orleans Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) during the public relations organization’s annual gala – Fleurish Awards: Unprecedented Campaigns and Champagne – honoring the best public relations efforts and industry leaders from the Greater New Orleans region.
“The OPCD public engagement team is a critical asset for our agency, and for our residents –– and I am deeply proud to see their hard work recognized in this way,” said OPCD Board of Commissioners Chairman, Beau Tidwell. “On behalf of the Board and the City, I congratulate the team on this well-deserved honor.”
Silver Anvil Award
The PRSA Silver Anvil – considered the highest honor of the public relations profession – was awarded to NOLA-311 in recognition of the agency public engagement team’s social media communications strategy, NOLA-311 “JAZZ” Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbot Launch, a branding, awareness and behavioral change campaign focused on helping New Orleans residents and visitors learn about the ease and benefits of utilizing the Citibot developed AI Chatbot function to submit and follow up on requests made to the city services liaison agency.
“To see our public engagement team recognized for their amazing work and talents by their public relations peers, once again, is incredibly heartwarming,” stated OPCD Executive Director, Tyrell Morris. “Over the last several years, I have watched this team repeatedly put their creativity and dedication to the test, firsthand. Knowing that others across the city and country are acknowledging these efforts and accomplishments instills a great sense of pride within me because it only further demonstrates OPCD’s commitment to our mission and to the people of New Orleans.”
“And we cannot forget to congratulate the wonderful team at Citibot,” continued Morris. “When we were seeking new ways to provide simple and easy access for our residents to connect with NOLA-311 during this pandemic, the Citibot team came with the winning solution. To say that their AI software has made an immediate and lasting impact on our ability to meet the people of New Orleans where they are would be a serious understatement.”
OPCD leadership originally sought out the AI chatbot solution when NOLA-311 experienced a vastly higher than normal volume of city service requests from New Orleans residents due to the expanded role NOLA-311 played in providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic. After researching a variety of solutions, OPCD determined that Citibot’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot – which walked residents through the request submission process, both on the website and through text messaging – would be the ideal option to provide a quick and efficient way for residents to continue submitting requests for services they needed, while also lowering call volumes.
Working with the Citibot marketing and development team, the OPCD public engagement team named the new AI chatbot, “JAZZ,” as an homage to the music created and loved so well in the City of New Orleans. With the name established, both teams coordinated to develop the JAZZ logo, branding, and an awareness and behavioral change communications campaign to coincide with JAZZ’s launch.
“Earning the Silver Anvil Award for the “JAZZ” AI chatbot campaign is an incredible honor,” stated OPCD Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Marcus Creel. And one of the most amazing things about winning an award as prestigious as this is being able to share in the revelry with those who joined in our efforts to ensure the success of, not only the campaign, but the entire endeavor. Our team could not have achieved this success without the superb guidance of Director Morris and OPCD Chief of Staff, Domonique Curry, or the dedication and conviction of NOLA-311 Operations Director, Erica Mercadel-Hayes, to consistently seek new ways to help the people of New Orleans.”
“I would like to also shine the spotlight on another person who shares in this victory with us,” continued Creel. “Citibot Director of Marketing and Communications, Alexandria Cottingham, has and continues to put in tireless effort, working with the OPCD public engagement team and various other agency departments to ensure the resources and information we need is consistently available to us, usually before we even ask for it. Alex is a powerful communicator who quickly became an honorary member of our team, and we are incredibly proud to share this moment with her and the rest of the wonderful Citibot team.”
From the point of launch in June 2021, through to October 2021, JAZZ conducted more than 6,650 communications with New Orleans residents, 4,012 of which were unique engagements. Of those 6,650 communications, 67.2% were conducted through text messaging, while 32.8% were via the web chat function on nola.gov/311 and opcdla.gov. Top actions in those communications included 50.8% questions about service, 15.5% submitting service requests, and 33.7% being informative messages relating to city service requests.
“Since Citibot’s partnership with OPCD began, it was evident that the public engagement team consists of incredible communicators,” said Alexandria Cottingham, Citibot Director of Marketing and Communications. “They’ve been integral to creating a brand that captures the heart and desire to serve that we see in the entire OPCD staff. It means the world to share this recognition for something we created together.”
“It was important to everyone that the JAZZ campaign resonated with citizens, was informative yet unique, and we were clear and consistent in our call to action,” continued Cottingham. “The engagement we see is a result of those efforts and tells us we made the right decisions. Now, residents trust and know that JAZZ will show up for them every day. To win this award is really the cherry on top.”
PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Award
Another highlight of the evening was the awarding of the PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Award of Excellence – PRSA New Orleans’ individual award for public relations professionals in the New Orleans Area who creatively responded and communicated with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the ability to successfully pivot during the pandemic to provide innovative and effective programs and/or services. Former OPCD Public Engagement Manager, Chelsea Porché (now Communications Strategist for Gambel Communications), earned this honor by a high margin for her stellar communications, graphic design, videography and social media efforts during the pandemic while working with the agency, also marking the second year in a row that a public engagement representative from OPCD has accepted the prestigious individual honor (Creel was selected in 2020).
“Chelsea earning the PR Pandemic Pivot Hero of Excellence Individual Award is also incredibly well deserved,” said Morris. “During her time at OPCD – as a call taker, dispatcher and Public Engagement Manager – Chelsea constantly demonstrated the values our agency strives to meet. And while she continues her career journey, she will always be considered part of the OPCD family.”
“Well, anybody who knows me also knows that I can’t speak well enough of Chelsea Porché, both as a person and as a public relations professional,” stated Creel. “She and I have worked together through hurricanes, floods, the pandemic, and so much more. Throughout everything, Chelsea’s mind and considerable skills were constantly dedicated to the cause of helping the people of New Orleans receive the information and services they needed when they needed them most. I am incredibly proud of her for earning this award, and, at the same time, not in the least bit surprised.”
“I am humbled and honored that my peers within the public relations profession thought highly of my work and efforts in serving the community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Chelsea Porche. “I truly appreciate the support, and PR Pandemic Hero nomination, I received from my former Director, Marcus Creel, who allowed me to be creative freely during our time together. My time working at OPCD, under Director Tyrell Morris’ leadership, is something I hold close to my heart and helped me develop creatively and professionally.”
Complete Awards List
The OPDC Public Engagement Team were awarded and recognized for the following:
- Social Media Campaign – Silver Anvil
- NOLA-311 JAZZ AI Bot Launch
- Individual Achievement Award – PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Award of Excellence
- Chelsea Porché
- Crisis Communication‐ Corporate/Government – Award of Excellence
- Hurricane Ida Crisis Communications Campaign
- Integrated Marketing Campaign – Award of Excellence
- FCC Deadline for Kari’s Law & Ray BAUM’s Act Compliance Campaign
- Outstanding Elements: Online Video – Award of Excellence
- Highlighting How NOLA-311 Aids Our Community Video
- Outstanding Elements: Print – Annual Report – Award of Excellence
- Orleans Parish Communication District 2020 Annual Report
- External Relations Campaign – Award of Merit
- NOLA-311 COVID-19 Vaccine Promotion Campaign
- Outstanding Elements: Online Video – Award of Merit
- Celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week Video
- Outstanding Elements: Print – Branding Image Design – Award of Merit
- NOLA-311 “JAZZ” AI Chatbot Logo
- Outstanding Elements: Print – Branding Image Design – Award of Merit
- Orleans Parish Communication District Challenge Coins
About Orleans Parish Communications District (www.opcdla.gov)
Formed in 1982, the Orleans Parish Communication District is the public safety answering point (PSAP) for all emergency communications via 9-1-1 within Orleans Parish. The agency employs over 140 individuals and provides emergency medical dispatch, emergency fire dispatch, and emergency police dispatch for the millions of annual visitors and residents of the City of New Orleans. OPCD is a member of the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). The Mission of OPCD is to Get the Right People to the Right Place at the Right Time, Better than Anybody Else in the World.
About Citibot (www.citibot.io)
Citibot is a leading provider of AI-powered chatbot solutions for citizens and their governments to use for efficient and effective communication and civic change. Using smart text messaging and web chat technology, Citibot helps residents get answers to questions, report issues, send messages directly to staff, and receive real-time alerts.
About PRSA New Orleans (www.prsaneworleans.org)
PRSA is the world’s leading advocate for public relations and communications professionals. PRSA New Orleans members are connected with professional communications career development, mentorship and engagement with industry experts, the newest public relations and communications strategies, and opportunities to participate in networking and leadership at the local and national levels. PRSA‘s Fleurish Awards is considered one of the most highly-anticipated industry events of the year, honoring the best public relations efforts across the Greater New Orleans region. For membership and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.prsaneworleans.org or follow us on social Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn @PRSANOLA.