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Something Old, Something New 

Over the past two decades, Dunn & Sonnier Antiques (2138 Magazine St., 524-3235) has established itself as a place to find quality, out-of-the-ordinary antiques, and now the Uptown shop also is known for extraordinary floral arrangements. The business' success can be attributed in part to the ever-young attitudes of owners Stephen Sonnier and Roy Dunn as well as their decision not to limit themselves to a particular specialty.

"We don't really specialize or focus on any one thing (or era)," Sonnier says. "It's just whatever we like -- French, English, painted, anything. ... We have furniture, sterling, crystal, chandeliers, architectural (items)." The store also is the exclusive New Orleans retailer for Nouvelle candles, manufactured in Louisiana, and it ships the popular items all over the country.

Open for 19 years, the shop three years ago began offering flowers, focusing on uncommon florals arranged in antique or aged containers. "I've seen what all the other flower shops do, and I wanted to do something different," Sonnier says. "We try to incorporate antique vessels or something that looks old and crusty, like urns and pitchers. I like the concept.

"We specialize in unusual flowers, and we search the world to find them." One port of call in that search is San Francisco, where they've found a supplier who will seek out the most unusual flora available. "That's what sets us apart ... the more unusual and bizarre flowers," he says.

Sonnier, who hails from Texas, says his residency in New Orleans started as a trip to the Crescent City to deliver an armoire. During that excursion, he decided he liked the city so much that he rented a space to open a business with Dunn, then returned to Texas, packed up his belongings and moved here for good.

"I was involved in the antique business in college and worked for someone else afterward," he says. "I couldn't stand working for someone else" so he opened his own shop. Initiating floral designs also was a return to something familiar. "I had been in the flower business most of my life, since I was 13 years old," he says. "It was just something I always wanted to do. I love what I do."

He and Dunn have plans to expand further in the future. "We have to expand to make the shop larger in the fall and will be carrying more gift items and garden accessories, such as urns and fountains," Sonnier says. "The space is available here, and we hope to start work soon."

A Vampire's Dream

If you're feeling a little vampy, long in the tooth or are inclined toward the offbeat, mysterious and nocturnal, there's a new, playful boutique that is sure to appeal to your sense of adventure.

Boutique du Vampyre (726 Orleans Ave., 561-8267) was opened New Year's Eve 2002 by owner Marita Jaeger to accommodate people's keen interest in New Orleans' legends of vampires.

"There are tours, voodoo shops and other things that play on the legends of New Orleans, and I thought there was something missing," Jaeger says of her reason for opening a shop dedicated to vampire lore. "It's more to give adults an [outlet] for their inquisitiveness abut vampires. It's a fun place, though, not a serious place."

Many of the items in the boutique are made on the premises or come from other local artisans. Special items include vampiric fortune candles, which are created in the boutique's candle studio. As these special candles melt away, they reveal a special pewter charm that reveals the candle owner's fortune. Special-order candles are available.

The shop also features Bouquet du Vampyre, a perfume specially created by New Orleans' own Hove Parfumeur Ltd. that smells of roses, a scent particularly attractive to vampires. The shop also has a selection of sterling silver perfume pendants to hold the rosy scent.

Other specialty items include hand-painted game boards, velvet gift pouches, "poison" rings and bracelets and a host of other curiosities. Many of the items come with scrolls that explain their significance in the vampire world.

In keeping with the ways of vampires, the shop is open dusk to dawn Sunday through Wednesday and noon to midnight Thursday through Saturday.

Wise Media Investments

The New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce and Brandmarken Communications are presenting the seminar "Managing Your Media Investments" from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday, July 18, at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel (555 Canal St.). Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the cost is $75 ($50 for Chamber members).

The seminar, conducted by Melissa Martin of Brandmarken Communications, is the fourth in the Chamber's six-month "Marketing Magic" series. Other seminars include "Getting Direct" with Tom Martin of Brandmarken on Aug. 15 and "Digital Marketing" with Martin on Sept. 19.

click to enlarge Owner Stephen Sonnier boxes up a rose pave, one - of his signature arrangements at Dunn & Sonnier - Antiques.
  • Owner Stephen Sonnier boxes up a rose pave, one of his signature arrangements at Dunn & Sonnier Antiques.
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