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- Gerri Combs, Executive Director, Southern Arts Federation

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Featured Case Study: Storm Warning IV
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The Challenge:

To focus the spotlight on the implications of Louisiana’s wetland loss to the nation and to heighten awareness among residents of the coast, Marmilliion + Company devised a national event to trigger national awareness for the America’s WETLALND Foundation (AWF). MCo also designed and implemented an integrated social media campaign to engage the public and allow them to participate in promoting, supporting, and spreading the word about the event.

The Solution:

Marmillion + Company devised the strategy and executed the action plan for Storm Warming IV: Last Stand for America’s WETLAND. The event involved a flotilla of marine vessels, pleasure craft, fishing boats, barges, work boats, and sailboats sounding their foghorns and holding up mirrors marking the line beneath of which all of Louisiana’s land will be lost if major conservation action is not taken. This 24-hour citizen rally also included a free concert by famous local musicians in New Orleans.

To engage a national audience, MCo developed a special event website to serve as an online focal point for the numerous social media initiatives it launched. The website not only served to provide detailed information about the event, but also integrated social media components such as the Storm Warming IV Facebook cause, America’s WETLAND website and multimedia event blog.

The mutlimedia blog tracked Val Marmillion’s Storm Warning boat tour on the Storm Rider to major cities along the Gulf Coast from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Houma, Louisiana. At each port along the way, information about wetland loss was distributed and the tour received significant media coverage in each market.

The Storm Warning project included other elements for citizen participation such as an Art, Photo and Poetry contest, a “Write Your Congressman” campaign, and a door decorating campaign.

The Results:

The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) brought together thousands of coastal residents and leaders to sound the alarm for the opening of the 2009 hurricane season at the fourth annual Storm Warning: Last Stand for America’s WETLAND. Approximately 2,000 people attended the Foundation’s Storm Warning rally and concert in New Orleans, featuring performances by the Hot 8 Brass Band, Rockin Dopsie Jr. and the legendary Irma Thomas.

Amongst the concertgoers were, US Representative Cao, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Veteran Reporter Dennis Woltering, Louisiana Senate President Joel Chaisson, State Representatives Neil Abramson and Jared Brossett, America’s WETLAND Chair, R. King Milling and Anne Milling, founder of Women of the Storm.

Scores of boats gathered for the Storm Warning boat rally to travel from Larose and Morgan City to the Houma Downtown Marina for the “Sounding of the Alarm”. An assortment of marine horns and air horns bellowed on land and water to alert the region and nation to the Atlantic Hurricane Season’s arrival.

Aside from a concert of horns, the Foundation hosted performances by the internationally acclaimed, Zachary Richard, Chubby Carrier, Waylon Thibedeaux and the Uppressors.

Throughout the program, several well known Louisiana natives took to the stage, including, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet, LaFourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph, St. Mary Parish President Paul P. Naquin, Jr., State Senators Reggie Dupre and Butch Gautreaux, and many more. Collectively they delivered a message on the importance of saving and restoring Louisiana’s coast.

In addition, thousands more followed the multimedia event blog, and nearly a thousand people joined and donated through the Storm Warning IV Facebook cause.