Monday, November 23, 2015

"Bunnyfriend"... It Was A Great Place To Grow Up And Learn The Game.

Dedicated to all those who remembered the old Bunny Friend, like Rusty Staub, David Mares, Billy Mares, Ronnie Quick, Benny Dupre, Firmin Simms and a host of other players.
When I was a kid, a long time ago, I'd take seven cents of my twenty five cents and catch the Franklin Avenue bus and then, transfer over on the Galvez bus to play baseball, all summer long until I went to high school. It was a great place to grow up and learn the game. I was always proud of the park I played baseball for. We always performed well at all the local tournaments. After practice, I'd sometimes get invited to hang in the projects to play, usually kid created games like line ball or roof baseball.

Bunny Friend Park, located in the ninth ward in New Orleans, Louisiana, is named in honor of Joseph E. Friend and Ida Weis Friend's son, Bunny, who died at age 18. Ida donated $4,000 to a fund to create a playground in memory of her son, and the fund grew into more than $10,000. She also donated a block of land to the city between Gallier and Desire streets. The playground established there was named Bunny Friend Park, and two of the the streets bordering the playground were later officially designated North Bunny Friend and South Bunny Friend.

In the early nineties, visiting from SoCal, I decided to drive by the old playground even though the "demographics" had severely changed. I just needed to connect with my New Orleans past. I drove around the circumference of the park to take some photos, never getting out of the car.

When I came to a stop light at the corner of Galvez and Desire Street, I stopped, only momentarily. I felt a vibe and there were too many folks hanging at the corners. I looked both ways before making a left onto Galvez against the red light.

That park was and still is called, " Bunnyfriend," where yesterday, sixteen people were injured by gang gun play.

So sad...

Copyright 2015/ Ben Bensen III

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