Apr 6, 200910:20 AM
The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

Errol Laborde: End of the Bunny Trail

Errol Laborde

I suspect that each new generation, increasingly used to action that is "virtual," rather than actual, was getting less enchanted about the site of live bunnies quietly snuggling or performing an occasion hop en route to a piece of lettuce.

There was a charm though about the bunny village on display each year in front of Scheinuk the Florists on St. Charles Avenue. Part of the local Easter week ritual was to stop in front of the florist where a large cage had been constructed to house little rabbits. Included in the village was a series of small wooden buildings, consisting of a bunny church, City Hall, barn, and a miniature Scheinuk the Florist building. The rabbits generally shunned religion, politics, farming and retail preferring merely to cluster in the shade where their laziness only enhanced their cuteness.
        
Their neighborhood along St. Charles, where the oaks in the foreground still flowered with beads from the past Carnival, splashed with the color of seasonal shifts in the city's life.
   
Max Scheinuk, the flower shop's founder, started the bunny village tradition that lasted 60 years before it was stopped in 2000. Times and business were changing. The Scheinuk building epitomized the changes. Standing stately along St. Charles one of the place's endearing features was the neon sign still showing the telephone number beginning with Twinbrook from back in the days when the phone company was more poetic and less digital.
   
Now the business has gone the way of the bunnies - existing only in a dream world populated entirely by memories. The site now houses a condominium complex where real people cluster around their own village.
        
Once at Easter we would point to where the bunnies were, then to where they used to be. But then Easter is about renewal and from ancient times rabbits were a symbols of that. Life ends. Life begins. Life goes on. And life leaves much in its path that we should stop and cherish - if only life did not move so fast.



Let us know what you think. Any comments about this article? Write to errol@renpubllc.com. For the subject line use BUNNY TRAIL. All responses are subject to being published, as edited, in this newsletter. Please include your name and location.

Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival- Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via E- mail at gdkrewe@aol.com or (504- 895-2266)

WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7PM, REPEATED AT 11:30 PM.WYES-TV, CH. 12.    NOW ON WIST RADIO, 690 AM, THE ERROL LABORDE SHOW, 6PM FRIDAYS; 8AM and 2PM SATURDAYS; 5 PM SUNDAYS.

Reader Comments:
Apr 6, 2009 12:37 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Thanks for the article on the Scheinuk bunnies! I won one of the bunnies one year when a giveaway was emcee'd by Hap Glaudi. We named the bunny "Hap" after Mr. Glaudi. We had a few happy years with "Hap", until he met his fate with a neighborhood cat. My father buried him in the back yard (along with other deceased pets)to the tears of my siblings and me. Thanks for calling to mind this sweet memory of childhood.
J. Turner

Apr 6, 2009 05:02 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

This story both warms my heart and brings a tear to my eye. My grandparents have always been great friends with the Scheinuks and as a result I spent many days inside that flower shop. Easter was always my favorite time as bunnies have long been my animal of choice. Watching the Scheinuks bunnies romp around the store window was one of my favorite times of year and filled the gap between the time I received a stuffed animal when I was born to my first live bunny at the age of 17. They were a staple of St. Charles and of my childhood.

DCMuller

Apr 7, 2009 08:54 am
 Posted by  K. Davidson

In the 1970's, during my childhood, I lived on St. Charles a few blocks from the Scheinuk Florist Shop. (In fact, I went to school with Ed Scheinuk). I remembering walking down with my mother to see the bunnies each Easter. Such a great tradition, such a wonderful memory. Later, as a mother, when my family had a series of rabbit pets--dwarf, mini rex, mini lop, and one wild, scrappy female--somehow none of them made me recall the Scheinuk bunnies. They were cute, yes, but they also tended to bite and dig holes all over the garden. To me, the Scheinuk bunnies are enshrined in the past as perfect and white and symbolic of childhood and Easter. Surely, they never bit anyone.

Apr 8, 2009 02:51 pm
 Posted by  Chaboogie

How wonderful to be reminded of the delightful times of childhood. My immediate family made up of my Mom, Dad and two Older Sisters came back to New Orleans every chance we had to visit with Grandparents and we never missed an Easter season to shop for new dresses, hats and shoes at Godchaux's and to visit the Rabbit Village at Scheinuk's. I seem to remember the Easter Lillies that were so prolific...or so it seemed to a child anxious to see just what would be in my beautiful Easter Basket with silver handles,a chocolate bunny and those wonderfully sweet treats nestled in the grass.

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The Editor's Room

Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde

about

Errol LabordeErrol Laborde holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of New Orleans and is the editor-in-chief of Renaissance Publishing. In that capacity he serves as editor/associate publisher of New Orleans Magazine and editor/publisher of Louisiana Life magazine.

Errol is also a producer and a regular panelist on Informed Sources, a weekly news discussion program broadcast on public television station WYES-TV, Channel 12. Errol is a three-time winner of the Alex Waller Award, the highest award given in print journalism by the Press Club of New Orleans. He also received the National and City Regional Magazine Association Award for Best Column for his New Orleans Magazine column, beating out 76 city magazines across the country. In 2013, Errol received the award for the "Best News Affiliated Blog," awarded by the Press Club of New Orleans.

Errol’s most recent books are Krewe: The Early Carnival from Comus to Zulu and Marched the Day God: A History of the Rex Organization. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis and traveling with his wife, Peggy, to anywhere they can get away to, but some of his favorite spots are the Caribbean and historic locations around Louisiana. You can reach Errol at (504) 830-7235 or errol@myneworleans.com.

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