Errol Laborde: End of the Bunny Trail
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (504- 895-2266)
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