Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans soon after Chategnier bought the store, but she wasn't deterred by the devastation. The shop reopened two weeks after the storm in a new location on Magazine Street, and is now the home of the original Katrina waterline plaque, as well as countless hardware items necessary for rebuilding.
'A lot of the Magazine Street shops didn't make it after Katrina, but we were lucky," Chategnier says. 'With all the rebuilding, we've been blessed. People really need what we have."
Chategnier tries to accommodate New Orleans' rebuilding process with her business. The store ships products anywhere, and construction contractors get a 10 percent discount. Even without a contractor's discount, Chategnier says goods bought at Accessories in Brass are reasonably priced.
'People think shopping on Magazine Street is expensive, but we're actually very affordable," she says. 'We've got to compete."
In reality, there's not much competition because there aren't many similar stores. The shop is unique because of its immense variety of metal items for sale; Accessories in Brass is both a hardware store and an art gallery. Shoppers can leave the store with a claw-foot bathtub, a door knocker and a fleur-de-lis accent piece all on one receipt.
In addition to her job at the shop, Chategnier also works as an actress. She's performed in Late Night Catechism, a traveling stand-up comedy show, for seven years. Chategnier dresses as a nun for the show, which she says makes fun of growing up Catholic. She's also performed in other plays, and has worked with stars like Rob Lowe.
'It's fun. It keeps life interesting," Chategnier says about her acting career.
Still, most days Chategnier can be found on Magazine Street in her shop. Owning and running Accessories in Brass keeps her busy. The business is growing, and Chategnier meets new shoppers all the time.
'Our old customers are finding us again, and new customers are finding us everyday," she says.
- Accessories in Brass offers an assortment of brass home accessories including faucets, door and cabinet hardware, mailboxes, bar railings and more.