I suspect that the “virtual” generation was becoming less entertained by the sight of live bunnies quietly snuggling or performing an occasional hop to get a piece of lettuce. Though there was a charm about the bunny village on display each year in front of Scheinuk Florists at 2600 St. Charles Ave. Part of the local Easter week ritual was to stop in front of the florist where a large cage had been constructed to house bunnies. Included in the village was a series of small wooden buildings, consisting of a bunny church, City Hall, barn and miniature Scheinuk 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 Avenue, 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 concluding in 2000. Times and businesses were changing, and the Scheinuk building epitomized the changes. Standing stately along St. Charles Avenue, one of the place's endearing features was the neon sign that still showed the telephone number that began 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 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 it didn't move so fast.
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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.
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