Orleans Parish Communication District Selected for 10 PRSA New Orleans 2020 Fleurish Awards

Contact: Marcus Creel
Public Engagement Manager
[email protected]

January 30, 2021

Orleans Parish Communication District Selected for 10
PRSA New Orleans 2020 Fleurish Awards Including
PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Award for OPCD Public Engagement Manager, Marcus Creel

NEW ORLEANS, LA – On Thursday, January 28, 2021, the New Orleans Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) celebrated its annual Fleurish Awards: Unprecedented Campaigns and Champagne with a virtual gala honoring the best public relations efforts and industry leaders from the Greater New Orleans region.

The Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD) is proud to announce that the New Orleans 9-1-1 and NOLA-311 Public Engagement Team was selected to win 10 PRSA New Orleans 2020 Fleurish Awards on Thursday evening, including the individual achievement award, PR Pandemic Pivot Hero, for Public Engagement Manager, Marcus Creel.

“One of the most important aspects of our work in responding to emergencies is keeping our residents as informed as possible to help them in their own response. Residents cannot take care of themselves in an emergency without accurate, timely and helpful information. That is why I am so proud to see our emergency communications professionals be recognized for their hard work,” said Mayor Cantrell.

“Congratulations to Laura Mellem, Public Engagement Manager for NOHSEP, and Marcus Creel, Public Engagement Manager of OPCD, for both being selected to win the PRSA NOLA 2020 PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Awards. I also want to congratulate Marcus Creel and OPCD Public Engagement Specialist Chelsea Porche for winning their awards and really putting in the work necessary to represent our city in a positive way,” Mayor Cantrell added. “So much of what all of these people do is behind the scenes, so we appreciate them getting the recognition they deserve from the PRSA NOLA Awards.”

The theme of this year’s awards is a direct testament to what 2020 brought everyone as “Unprecedented” barely begins to describe what the public relations industry collectively experienced. Through it all, PR professionals and other culture bearers and storytellers of New Orleans continue to persevere through unprecedented times and events.

The spirit of perseverance through unprecedented times was evident as the OPCD Public Engagement Team competed against hundreds of local and regional industry professionals.

“I can barely contain my pride for what Marcus and Chelsea have accomplished,” stated OPCD Executive Director, Tyrell Morris. “Not just with these awards, but with everything they have done since joining the OPCD team and taking over the Public Engagement department back in 2019. They are an unbelievably talented duo of communicators who truly believe in the mission of this agency and are constantly seeking out new ways to connect with the people of New Orleans. Their efforts during the pandemic, working tireless hours alongside their public safety counterparts in the Joint Information Center, is a testament to their drive and desire to help others.”

“And, while I know they don’t do this kind of work for the accolades,” continued Morris, “seeing them being recognized by their public relations peers for 10 awards is incredibly exciting because it acts to further validate what the OPCD family has already known for a long time: that Marcus and Chelsea are exceptional communicators, professionals and, above all, people, deserving of all the recognition they can get.”

The OPDC Public Engagement Team were awarded and recognized for the following:


    • External Relations – Corporation/Government
      • COVID-19 Public Education & Awareness Campaign – Award of Excellence
    • Internal Relations 
      • Project Unity – Celebrating Diversity & Volunteerism Campaign – Award of Excellence
    • Crisis Communications – Corporation/Government 
      • COVID-19 Crisis Communications Campaign – Award of Excellence

Outstanding Elements

    • Social Media
      • Online Video 
        • Isaac Toups Feeds New Orleans – Award of Excellence
        • Kermit Ruffins Gifts Food & Music During the Pandemic – Award of Excellence
    • Print
      • Blog 
        • Understanding Kari’s Law – Award of Excellence
      • Online Newsroom 
        • Emergency Communications Center Resources Webpage – Award of Excellence
      • Other 
        • Stay Home for NOLA Poster, featuring Kermit Ruffins – Award of Excellence
        • Stay Home for NOLA Poster, featuring Isaac Toups – Award of Merit

Individual Achievement Award

    • PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Award
      • Marcus Creel, OPCD Public Engagement Manager 
    • PR Pandemic Pivot Her Award
      • Laura Mellem, NOHSEP Public Engagement Manager


Diana Mateo Hernandez, PRSA New Orleans Chapter Board Communications Co-Chair, believes it is Creel’s commitment to building OPCD and NOLA-311’s voice with the public that helped him earn the PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Award, stating: “Since Marcus Creel began working for the Orleans Parish Communication District, he has helped the agency reach the public in an outstanding way that was once non-existent. As the public engagement manager, Marcus created a brand for OPCD and helped the agency receive the proper recognition it deserves as the city’s public safety answering point. Marcus’ presence at OPCD has changed the voice of the agency for the better, and it is our great honor to present Mr. Creel this year’s Fleurish PR Pandemic Pivot Hero Award.”


“First, let me say congratulations and thank you to Chelsea,” stated OPCD Public Engagement Manager, Marcus Creel. “There’s no way we could have met our goals without her talent and skills. She also secretly nominated me for the PR Pandemic Hero Award, so being selected for that was an incredible surprise and honor. Congratulations are also in order for Laura Mellem at NOHSEP, who was also selected to win the PR Pandemic Hero Award. It would be hard to pinpoint another public safety communicator more steadfast in their commitment to helping others than Laura, so seeing her being recognized for her leadership and dedication is pretty spectacular.”

“When Chelsea and I were doing this work,” continued Creel, “neither of us were even remotely considering awards of any kind. Our focus – like that of all of the public safety public information officers (PIOs) we worked alongside in the city’s Joint Information Center – was solely on helping as many people as possible during the pandemonium that was 2020. To be recognized in this way after all that hard work, though, is truly special. One last, very important thank you to Director Morris for his unending support for the Public Engagement department, and for his leadership as we continue our efforts to help better the lives of those in our communities.”


“I am honored and grateful that our campaigns to aid and inform citizens during the pandemic, and to shine a light on diversity within our communities were recognized by our peers in public relations industry at PRSA New Orleans,” stated OPCD Public Engagement Specialist, Chelsea Porché. “With guidance from Marcus, I have been fortunate to produce videos, photography and graphics, along with a variety of other tactics, and fully utilize our social media platforms and data analytics to develop engaging ways to communicate critical information to the public, which, in itself, has been a rewarding experience. Thank you to Director Morris and Mayor Cantrell for providing OPCD’s Public Engagement Team with a platform to do what we love, which is to serve and inform the people of the City of New Orleans.”


The event featured Marc Romig, APR, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of New Orleans & Company and the 2019 PRSA Lifetime Achievement Fleurish Award Recipient and Trixie Minx, Founder and Creative Director of Trixie Minx Productions as Awards Show Co-Hosts; as well as Champagne Toast Host Fresh Johnson of Elle R. Jae Events.

Each virtual awards experience ticket purchase included locally handcrafted gifts: jarcuterie from GrazeDat, Not Too Fancy Bakery’s salted caramel praline cake jars, and Luc Belaire champagne.


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 PRSA New Orleans
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.