Series of fundraisers help owner of burned beauty shop

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NEW ORLEANS — Beverly Smith says she paid insurance premiums on her business in Broadmoor beauty salon building for years.  She’s been in business for nearly 40 years.

But Smith says she eventually dropped her coverage.  Now she’s paying the price.

On March 20, at about 8:30 in the evening, a speeding car came crashing into Smith’s Unity 1 Beauty Supply and Hair Salon.  It caused a fire that killed one of the salon’s customers.  The two teenagers inside the car were also killed.

Two weeks later, a crowd assembled at Bertha’s Place bar in the Seventh Ward to help collect donations for Smith.  A few days earlier, Smith received more help from the Bronner Brothers International Beauty Show at the Morial Convention Center, a check for $10,000.  And on Monday, the business incubator group Propeller is hosting another fundraiser for her.

There’s also a Go Fund Me campaign that aims to raise $250k.

“The explosion of course and people who died was just really heartbreaking for us. Just prayers and the love from our community has helped us to really keep going forward. Without them I don’t know what I would do, just getting up every morning,” Smith told WGNO.

But Smith says she could need $300,000 or more to repair the damage, and that’s if the building doesn’t require demolition.  Even with the help of fundraisers, she could be searching for hundreds of thousands of dollars on her own.

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