ERROL LABORDE: Warm and Fizzy on the Avenue
Another Easter has passed and the memories of an Easter tradition is another year removed, just when we need our traditions more than ever.
There was a charm 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 exhibitionism by clustering outdoors 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 three years ago. 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 TW 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- and Katrina had nothing to do with its departure. Three years ago this month Scheinuk closed so that the site could become part of a condominium complex where real people will 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 symbols of that. Life ends. Life begins. Life goes on. And life leaves much in its path which we should stop and cherish- if only life did not move so fast.
Just thinking about New Orleans.