For weeks, Desiree and Denise Verrett worked diligently, manipulating and maneuvering more than 230,000 straws into a variety of shapes and angles. The end result was magnificent, as the high school students unveiled two elaborate pieces of art in the dining area of the new Baton Rouge SONIC drive-in: a tiger head representing neighboring LSU and a traditional SONIC Cherry Limeade.
“Everyone knows us for our drinks. So I wanted a local artist to create two pieces of art made entirely out of SONIC straws that would reflect both the drive-in and the Baton Rouge community,” said Lori Moresi, marketing director for Kergan Brothers, a SONIC franchisee.
With just one month to build the unique pieces, the sisters loaded hundreds of thousands of straws into their car and shuttled them nearly everywhere they went. During class, after school and over the weekends, Desiree and Denise worked tirelessly to complete the project.
First, they built the tiger head by hot-gluing straw pieces on a 7-by-3-foot plywood board. Since they were limited to one color, they cut each straw at specific angles to present different shades of red and a more realistic tiger face.
After perfecting the tiger, Desiree and her sister took many of those same elements and incorporated them into a 4-by-4-foot Cherry Limeade. The sisters again cut the straws into a variety of shapes, this time creating different textures for the cup and drink.
To finish the project, Desiree and Denise covered the straw art in plexiglass and presented it to Kergan Brothers just in time for the drive-in’s grand opening.
“The project exceeded our expectations,” Lori said. “These girls are extremely professional and beyond their years in talent.”
For Desiree and Denise, the final product is also a culmination of years of hard work building their name in the community.
“We started selling art when we were in elementary school, so we’ve been trying to get our name out there for a long time,” Desiree said. “We find joy in these job opportunities and thanks to SONIC, we felt like this was a turning point in our artistic careers.”