An award-winning reporter, Travers Mackel heads up the WDSU investigative unit, the I-Team.
A mainstay at WDSU since 2003, Travers has played a role in covering every major news story in this area for almost a decade and says he truly loves what he does.
A four-time Emmy nominee, Travers won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of breaking news. In 2012, Travers also received two national journalism honors. He's the recipient of a prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for WDSU's coverage of the Hubig's Pies fire in the Marigny and won a National Headliner Award -- one of the oldest and largest annual national awards recognizing journalistic merit. It's handed out by the Press Club of Atlantic City. Travers and WDSU received the award for breaking news coverage.
Travers has broken some of the biggest stories in the metro area including the NOPD paid detail scandal, which led to sweeping changes inside the police department including the suspensions of several NOPD officers and city leaders.
Travers was also the first to report on the online blogging scandal that rocked the United States Attorney's Office in New Orleans. Three prosecutors resigned amid the controversy and the Department of Justice launched a probe into the matter.
Travers also broke the story into allegations that members of a multi-jurisdictional drug task force robbed a suspected drug dealer. Due to his reports, the FBI launched its own investigation into the matter.
Travers has also done numerous, exclusive investigations in Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. John and Tangipahoa Parishes that have brought change to those areas.
Travers' journeys as a journalist have taken him around the country. He spent several weeks in the Washington D.C. area covering the bribery trial of former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson, and traveled the state to cover two other high-profile murder trials moved out of the New Orleans area due to pre-trial publicity. Travers was in Lake Charles, La., when the verdict was read in the "Bourbon Street Bouncer" trial, and he also spent time in Lafayette, La., covering the murder trial of former radio personality Vince Marinello. Travers made several trips to rural Jena, La., for the historic march that drew more than 20,000 people to the tiny north Louisiana town in support of the teens known as "The Jena 6."
Travers has been to Fort Benning, Ga., to cover soldiers headed to Bosnia and made numerous stops at Camp Shelby, Miss., to report on troops headed to Iraq. He's covered shark attacks on the Florida Panhandle, been to the Nation’s Capital to cover hurricane recovery efforts and, in 2007, provided live reports from Super Bowl XLIV in Miami for NBC News. Travers also spent significant time in areas like Venice and Grand Isle, La., as well as in Biloxi, Miss., and Gulf Shores, Ala., covering the 2010 BP oil spill and the disaster clean up.
Travers has appeared on CNN numerous times, as well as MSNBC, including appearances on "The Rachel Maddow Show." He played himself in an episode of the HBO series "Treme," which was shot on location in New Orleans.
The biggest story of Travers' career was covering Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. He was one of only a handful of journalists to ride out the storm in the Louisiana Superdome and offer live, first-hand reports as parts the Superdome roof were ripped off. Travers was also on a police boat, bringing viewers the story of rescue attempts hours after the levees broke in New Orleans, when much of the city was under water. He anchored much of the station's round-the-clock coverage in the weeks following the storm and was featured in the documentary "Seven Days That Changed New Orleans." Prior to coming to WDSU, Travers worked as an anchor and reporter in Monroe, La., at KTVE-TV, and he spent almost three years reporting for WLBT-TV in Jackson, Miss. Travers is a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans. He played shortstop on Loyola's baseball team while in college. Since Hurricane Katrina hit the area in 2005, Travers has won nearly a dozen awards from The Press Club of New Orleans and The Associated Press of Louisiana.
Travers is the son of the late Frank Mackel, a longtime New Orleans golf professional. His twin brother, Fletcher, is a sports anchor and reporter at WDSU.
- Loyola University New Orleans
- WDSU NewsInvestigative Reporter, present
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