January 202325

Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Honors Good Samaritans Who Used On-Site Defibrillators to Save a Life

Katherine and Michael Diegan Receive a Certificate of Commendation
From New Orleans Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center Leadership and New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (NOEMS) Staff.

NEW ORLEANS — At its monthly board meeting, the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, the governing body of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, offered formal commendations to two guests who utilized an on-site Automated External Defibrillator (AED) device to save the life of an individual outside of a Convention Center event earlier this month.

Michael and Katherine Diegan, of Daphne, Alabama, were attendees at the “New Orleans Blastoff” volleyball tournament on the weekend of January 14th. On Saturday, they encountered an individual who was jogging in the Pedestrian Park that extends the length of the Convention Center experiencing a medical emergency. Quickly ascertaining that the man, named Jason Baldwin, was not breathing and was without a pulse, they immediately rendered aid. Mr. Diegan, a volunteer fireman, administered CPR, while Mrs. Diegan located and retrieved a nearby AED unit. Mr. Diegan then successfully used the equipment to revive Mr. Baldwin, who resumed breathing and began to speak shortly thereafter.

Convention Center staff and Paramedic Ryan Satterberg, rendered additional aid, helping to care for the man until the arrival of a New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (NOEMS) unit, which stabilized Mr. Baldwin and transported him for treatment at Tulane Medical Center.

“I have been a runner for over a decade, I have run more than 10,000 miles in my life, and on any one of those 10,000 miles, this could have happened. I am blessed to have [Michael and Katherine] there when it did,” said Jason Baldwin, speaking virtually at the Exhibition Hall Authority’s monthly board meeting. “I am hoping that folks are encouraged to get CPR certified, understand what an AED is, or simply just check up on their health.”

Among those who responded to this incident include the New Orleans Fire Department Captain Randolph Edward, Firefighter Elvin Calderon, Probationary Firefighters Braylon Lawrence, and Casey McGann. Also on the scene were Paramedics Stanley Woods, Ryan Satterberg, Danyell Slack, and Scott Schlumbrect, and Emergency Medical Technicians Timothy Williams, and Theodore Wyshel, as well as 911 Dispatcher Keiane Taylor.

“Michael and Katherine Diegan saved a man’s life, and we are pleased that the Authority is formally recognizing their heroism today,” said Jerry Reyes, President and Chairman of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority. “When the Convention Center deployed the AEDs throughout the Convention Center in 2020, we hoped never to need them — but we are deeply grateful to have this technology available in moments of need such as this.”

There are 47 Physio-Control LIFEPAK CR2 AEDs installed throughout the Convention Center. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are portable, life-saving devices designed to treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

“On this particular day, we had more than 13,000 individuals in our facility. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our guests, both internal and external. In this case, being prepared made all the difference,” said Michael J. Sawaya, Convention Center President. “We could not be more inspired and proud of everyone involved in this incident.”

Also in attendance at the Authority’s regularly scheduled board meeting were representatives of NOEMS who responded to the scene and transported Mr. Baldwin to Tulane Medical Center.

One of the 47 Automated External Defibrillators installed throughout the
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

About the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC)

New Orleans is Built to Host! With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space on one level, all under one roof, NOENMCC is the sixth largest Convention Center in the United States and provides the largest single exhibit space in the country. Our recent LEED Gold certification makes NOENMCC the largest LEED-certified project in Louisiana and the largest convention center project in the U.S. certified under LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance, as well as the first convention center in the world to be awarded initial certification under LEED Gold v4.1 O+MA. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, NOENMCC event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening.

About the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority’s (Authority) exclusive mission is to finance, construct and operate facilities in order to attract and conduct conventions, trade shows, and other events that support and expand the economy of both the State of Louisiana and New Orleans Region. The Authority is composed of a 13-member board of commissioners, ten appointed by the Governor of Louisiana, and three appointed by the Mayor of New Orleans. Since 1985, event activity at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments.