After a year of experiencing just about any gathering as being “virtual,” we should be craving assemblies that are “actual” even if the congregation is just rabbits. There was a charm about the bunny village on display each year in front of Scheinuk the Florist on the corner of St. Charles and Washington avenues. Part of the local Easter week ritual was to stop in front of the florist where a large cage had been constructed to provide a place for bunnies. Included in the rabbit village was a series of small wooden buildings consisting 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.
Their neighborhood along St. Charles was made cheerier by the oaks overhead still flowered with beads from the past carnival.
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 symbol 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.
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s books, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” and “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2017 and 2013), are available at local bookstores and at book websites.
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