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Flower of the Riverbend 

Yvonne LaFleur (8131 Hampson St., 866-9666; is in the business of making women look and feel beautiful, whether they dressing for a casual lunch date or a wedding. With almost four decades of experience, LaFleur knows what works for women, and she keeps her finger on the pulse of changing fashion trends. Her Riverbend boutique stocks everything from lingerie to apparel for all occasions to custom-designed hats and jewelry.

"It's a fashion emporium," she says. "It has great collections of all kinds of merchandise."

Part of the charm is the personalized service customers receive, which includes help in picking out just what they need as well as free alterations. Currently, LaFleur says she is working with lots of brides and women going on vacations. "I love to help people put together vacation wardrobes," she says. "I can show people how to pack efficiently. It's fun. All those different levels of excitement and trips take you away from the mindset we've been in lately (because of Katrina)."

She also is busy helping women find clothing and custom-hats (which LaFleur designs and makes herself) to wear at the Kentucky Derby as well as fashioning hats for Easter. The shop also has a good stock of dresses for graduation.

In addition to fashions, LaFleur also has a signature line of fragrance products popular with women around the world. Orders of perfume kept her business going during the uncertain days following Hurricane Katrina. "Fragrance is an essential part of a woman's wardrobe," she says. "People call from all over to order my fragrance."

Spring Blooms The 2006 Spring Garden Show will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, at the New Orleans Botanical Garden (1 Palm Drive, City Park, 483-9386; The show will include exhibits of plants and garden products, a Kid's Discovery Area of games and projects, educational programs and areas where you can buy plants, products and gifts. The garden show is sponsored by LSU AgCenter, Metro Area Horticulture Foundation and New Orleans Botanical Garden. Admission is $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 5-12, and free for children younger than 5 and for Friends of City Park.

click to enlarge Yvonne LaFleur's signature fragrance is a hit with women - from all over.
  • Yvonne LaFleur's signature fragrance is a hit with women from all over.
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