‘Picking Up The Pieces’: Broken glass from tower damaged by Hurricane Laura turned into over $20,000 in raised donations


LAKE CHARLES, La. (KLFY)- A single Facebook post and a piece of glass have turned into over $20,000 of donations for the Lake Charles community.

Rachel Sollay posted a photo of a necklace on Facebook. The necklace was made from the glass blown out of the Capital One Tower in downtown Lake Charles during Hurricane Laura.

Sollay received numerous requests from people asking her to make one for them. The community response was incredible she told us. So, she got some help from her friend Sarah O’Neal and they hit the ground running. People wanted to get involved to help collect glass and create the necklaces. So, the pair created a Facebook group.

Thousands of people joined a Facebook group called, “Picking up the Pieces.” Usually, these groups are made for people recycling items found on the beaches. The items found are then turned into something new. In this case, it’s the glass blown from the windows being turned into sentimental pieces of art- reflecting on the past.

Whether you’re driving to go to Houston or live in the area, it’s a building most are familiar with. Spotted in the distance, the tower stands tall in the center of the city.

“It’s like seeing this building is a sign that you’re home, so to see it kind of blown to smithereens like this is just kind of like a gut-wrenching experience,” lifelong Lake Charles resident Brittany Hardy said.

People have reached out to Sollay and O’Neal from across the country. They say they’ve had people who helped build the tower to those who used to work inside of it reach out to them, all for the same reason. Everyone wanted to get a special piece of history to keep with them to remind them of home.

Other than the necklaces, some of the Facebook group members had an idea to make something Louisiana inspired. They printed out a stencil and 10-year-old Hope Fontenot got to work. Her piece of art is now selling for almost four thousand dollars in an auction. The starting bid is $40.

“Out of nowhere, it just blew up overnight within a matter of hours,” O’Neal said.

Their next challenge is figuring out what to do with the thousands of dollars they’ve raised. They’re currently looking at different opinions but want to focus on the elderly. With several scams going around, they want to make sure it goes to a good cause while helping as many people as possible.

The pair is currently working on fulfilling over 600 orders. Both Sollay and O’Neal were displaced during the hurricane so they needed a place to pop up shop and hit the ground running. Sollay has been working out of her grandmas house and she says it has been turned into an “art factory.”

“Having a piece of that to display is special and it’s important. It kind of reinforces the idea of Louisiana strong,” Sollay said.

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