NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After hearing about a car crash that set a beloved neighborhood salon ablaze, the Atlanta-based organizers of the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show decided to help.
The event, held at the Convention Center this weekend, is drawing large crowds -- many of whom can sympathize with the unexpected tragedy that struck the Unity-1 Salon last week. The fiery crash killed three, including two people inside the vehicle, and injured eight others.
James Bronner, the senior vice president of the show, said the organizers of the event saw an opportunity to make a difference.
“We said, ‘We have to do something about that,’ so as we connect people, we wanted to do that for a good cause,” he said.
Bronner said he reached out to stylists and business owners to raise money.
"Let's help get them rebuilt, and do what we can," Bronner said.
He said the fire brought back a personal memory of when his father's home burned down.
“One of his earliest, most traumatic memories was running out of a flaming house,” Bronner said “And they had to rebuild all over again, so we want to help the Smith family to do the same.”
Some local business owners said they were also reminded of their own experiences after hearing about the tragedy, like Jessica Dupart, the owner of Kaleidoscope Hair Products.
“I, actually too experienced a fire in the first six months of me opening, so this was very passionate and close to my heart, cause I know what it’s like to lose everything,” Dupart said.
Their goal is to raise $300,000.
“It’s just phenomenal to be able to be a part to contribute to the rebuilding of Unity-1. It is a milestone, and it’s been there since before I was a hairstylist, so I mean, what other choice did I have?” Dupart said.
A check will be presented to the salon owner Saturday night (March 30).
“These things happen, and they’re a testimony to others that are going through [hard times], that you can make it," Bronner said. "You just have to lean on your faith and stay strong and stay focused about what you’re having to do. Not what happened, but where do you go from there.”