There was a charm about the bunny village on display each year in front of Scheinuk the Florist on St. Charles Avenue. Part of the local Easter week ritual was to stop in front of the florist shop, where a large cage had been constructed to house bunnies. Included in the village was a series of small wooden buildings, which consisted of a bunny church, City Hall, a 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.
The 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 – a 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.
For a few Easter seasons, we would point to where the bunnies were and 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.
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This blog is based on one of Errol Laborde’s annual Easter columns about seasonal traditions.
WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7 P.M., REPEATED AT 11:30 P.M. WYES-TV, CH. 12.
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), has been released. It is now available at local bookstores and at book web sites.