A LAND OF NEW BEGINNINGS
MARYANN BRUNO RECENTLY celebrated a momentous occasion—40 years of marriage to her high school sweetheart Robert Bruno. The couple met at his senior prom in New Orleans, and although they arrived with different dates, they left having sparked an immediate connection. Their life together has been filled with great joy and tremendous tragedy, but through it all, their bond has grown into a beacon of togetherness and hope.
“I had a great childhood growing up in Lakeview. I went to Mt. Carmel and LSU, then came back to New Orleans where I finished my CPA studies while Bobby attended law school. I enjoyed working at Ericksen, Krentel and Barré but opted to become a stay-at-home mom after having our second child. That’s really where my heart was. It meant everything to me to build a family and support Bobby in the wonderful Bruno family business.”
As their children grew, the couple sought the benefits of relocating to St. Tammany, which promised a tranquil landscape more conducive to family life – a motivation that still resonates with them and has inspired their current venture. After decades of commitment to and experience in responsible growth in the parish, Bruno Brothers Property Development Company is allowing Bobby and Maryann to pursue a highly personal undertaking. “This new development is our vision of what Northshore life should be and an opportunity for new beginnings for us and the community we’ll create,” says Maryann, recently named Executive Vice-President and Development Coordinator for Wingfield Estates, a 47-home, 160-acre site in Covington near Interstate 12 and Highway 1077.
Upon entering, the Brunos’ own Northshore home embodies their adventures, loves and sense of place. An eclectic mix of unique furniture and vibrant paintings mingle with stately photos, documents and even musical scores. Not simply décor, each piece tells a personal story, from Bobby’s enthusiasm for preserving local history to Maryann’s flair for spirited style. The unifying theme is the connection attached to each—a friendship with or relation to the artist, local cultural resonance, or remembrance of a treasured experience shared with their children. Amidst the evidence of a fulfilling life, finding a reason for new purpose has been difficult for the mother of four who was devastated by the loss of two children. During dark times Maryann calls upon her mantra, ‘Be better, not bitter.’ Her generous spirit is reflected in an early milestone of her healing process, Gift Perfect, a gift basket boutique. The need to create beauty manifested in her becoming a licensed cosmetologist. Now, her desire to share beauty and gifts comes in the form of helping to develop an idyllic environment that families will call home.
“We want to create something good, to build a community that offers everything residents could want in a happy home no matter their stage of family. It’s the best of both worlds—serenity and community; limited homesites with ample land and reasonable square footage requirements that allow trees, fresh air and stargazing while still enjoying neighbors; city services in a gated, country setting that’s deceptively convenient to interstates, shopping and schools. It’s taken me a long time to get excited about something, but I feel like we’re building the perfect living environment and leaving behind a meaningful legacy. It’s unique in the large lot size and affordability, close to everything you need – it’s all the things we were looking for when we chose the St. Tammany lifestyle.”
Maryann credits Bruno Brothers’ business savvy, experience and backing, as well as her husband’s vision, for making their dreams possible. In life together since their teens, she tells of his decades-long drive and ability to foresee growth, responding with developments that serve both commercial and residential needs while serving the community. “I can’t talk about myself without talking about my husband and the family business. After our loss, we were filled with agony and indecision, despite Bobby’s previous successes. The Wingfield Estates project is a road we felt compelled to take, and we wanted to do it together – a symbol of new beginnings and dreams-come-true for other families. But we certainly couldn’t have begun without the support of his brothers.” Of his wife, Bobby Bruno adds, “She’s modest when it comes to her contributions, but Maryann has been an invaluable partner and advisor throughout every aspect of our lives. She’s a wonderful mother, smart businesswoman and the ideal person to help others.”
Personal development is also important to Maryann. She enjoys camaraderie and athletics as a long-time tennis player at Stone Creek and is involved in Bruno’s sponsorship of the Rich Mauti Cancer Fund Tennis Tournament. She is a St. Benedict’s Society member and enjoys life-long learning including art history classes at The Abbey. Despite her personal achievements, fierce dedication to family and growing strength in the face of staggering loss, Maryann Bruno insists on avoiding the spotlight. “It’s not about me, and it’s bigger than us. It’s about building on the success of Bruno Brothers, the generosity of Bobby’s brother partners, and wanting to give back to them as they have given us so much. It’s an opportunity to preserve the character and loveliness of the area while at the same time making it better.”
Bruno Brothers Real Estate Development & Management is located at 70325 Highway 1077, Suite 101 in Covington. For more information about Wingfield Estates, call 985-792-7110 or visit wingfieldsubdivision.com.