In New Orleans: Becoming the Demo Diva | WBEZ
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Death, Sex & Money

In New Orleans: Becoming the Demo Diva

Simone Bruni never imagined she would someday run a demolition company. "I grew up in a very traditional Latin home," she says. "My mom did not work. I wanted her life. I wanted to be a stay at home mom." But when Hurricane Katrina hit, Simone was 32 and single, working in the hospitality industry.

After the storm, she found herself unemployed. "No one knew what to do. I did nothing," she recalls. Jobs were scarce. "It was...a situation of blaze your own trail or leave. I wasn’t going to leave."

When waves of aid workers showed up to help with storm cleanup, she saw an opportunity. "I realized the first step to coming home was demolition," she says. Armed with her skills in marketing, Simone started Demo Diva, a demolition company geared towards women. "I had everything painted hot pink," she laughs. "I said, 'I’m in this and I’m coming out strong.'"

Simone Bruni, on a job site in New Orleans. Her excavator is named "Smashing Star," because "she looks smashing." (Rush Jagoe)
Host Anna Sale, meeting Simone's baby squirrels. "I've notified all the tree companies that when they find baby squirrels to call me." (Katie Bishop)

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