Many recall a time when a spot on St. Charles Avenue hosted the “Bunny Village,” an Easter tradition that lasted for about 65 years. The bunny village was at Scheinuk the Florist, a shop established in 1906 by Max Scheinuk, a Polish immigrant and gardener, with his German wife, Elsie.
In the springtime, the couple would buy hundreds of rabbits from a farm in the Kentwood area, then set up a fenced-in village for them, consisting of four small buildings, including a replica of the shop, a school and a “bunny church.”
The village created a whimsical Easter tradition that was fun for all ages. In fact, Ronnie Scheinuk, the current owner and the grandson of Max and Elsie, fondly recalls a day when four generations of a family came to see the village.
Max and Elsie, and eventually their son Arthur, would often sell the bunnies throughout the season, but as decades passed, animal rights activists became concerned. A city ordinance was passed, but the Scheinuks gained special permission to rent the bunnies. The bunnies, lower in number at this time (about 40) were delivered to the florist shop ten days before Easter, and were then picked up the day after Easter by the people who had rented them.
The bunny village, years not known
photos courtesy of Ronnie Scheinuk
Though the bunny village created a memorable tradition, it ended in 2000, due to “dwindling interest and lack of suppliers,” says Ronnie Scheinuk. A few years later in 2003, the shop’s property on St. Charles Avenue was sold and turned into condominiums. Ronnie Scheinuk is today an independent floral contractor who specializes in weddings, and operates his business on the both sides of Lake Pontchartrain.