A newsletter by harkins, the florist
More Colorful Characters…
High on the list of colorful characters who have worked at harkins, the florist, over the years would be two characters straight out of “da nint’ ward,” Mark Anthony Tate and Clifford (June) Prout, Jr.
In the earliest days after Jawn moved beyond doing the deliveries himself, some of the most overqualified drivers ever had the role. Coming out of Jawn’s St. John Prep period were the Monsour brothers. Paul, the older of the two, went on to receive a medical degree and is seen frequently these days on East Jefferson television spots as the hospital’s leading cancer specialist. His brother, Ronnie, likewise has had an interesting career as a pilot, first in the military and now for American Airlines. Paul’s friend, John Finney, filled in some days making flower deliveries and now is another well-known physician in the East Jeff world.
It was, therefore, quite a changing of the guard when Mark Ant’ny and June appeared on the scene.
Mark Ant’ny grew up on Desire Street, became quite the stud of the “downtown” crowd and brought much grief to his salt of the earth parents. The father worked for L.S.U Medical School by day and drove for White Fleet at night to support his 10 children. Mrs. Tate was a devout “Mother of the Church,” forever praying for her wayward son.
Capable of making many deliveries in a short time, Marc Ant-ny also was known for disappearing on occasion. He had more excuses for “JohnP” than Carter has pills. His career ended after many wrecks. The final, most memorable, was on lower Jackson Avenue where he totaled four cars in addition to the company van. This was during the heyday of the St. Thomas Project. Literally hundreds of people appeared amidst the carnage, all claiming to be injured. Finally, the exasperated policeman announced, “O.K., folks, I’m going to put 20 people on the report. You get together and decide who it will be.”
So Marc Ant’ny moved on, returning to drug dealing and God knows what else. He once made the observation that anyone in his crowd who lived to be 30 was considered an old man. Mark Ant’ny didn’t even come close.
June, the understudy, played his role well, moving into the driver position. He, likewise, did not last long in the flower business. Dealing cocaine for a group of Cuban drug lords, he got into a heated dispute concerning missing product, causing him to go underground for many months, never seeing daylight. Ultimately, he ended up in jail rather than dead at the hands of the drug lords.
There’s a happy ending to June’s story. After being freed from jail, with the help of his sister, June moved to California. First he got a job working on a garbage truck, followed by loftier pursuits. Over the years, whenever his visits New Orleans, he stops by the flower shop. He walks in with a big grin. “How you doin,’ JohnP? I’m doing good!” And, indeed, he is.
In the European Mode…
It is a given that Europeans are light years ahead of Americans in the use of flowers. Per capita consumption of flowers in the U.S. has always been a small fraction of what one finds in the countries of Western Europe. The numbers are improving, however, and, here at harkins, the florist, we are trying to help change this disparity.
Our latest innovation is offering prepared bouquets each day. Peggy found a display rack at a garage sale, which now holds six or eight bunches each day prepared by the designers.
Previously, when a customer wanted something on this order, a designer would stop what he or she was doing and put together an assortment to meet the need. This could be hit or miss, and took bit of time both for the customer and the designer. Now it is so much easier to “grab and go.”
These bouquets are offered in the price range $15 to $30. Still available are our regular cash and carry bunches ranging from $2.98 for Friday Flowers up to $19.95 for a dozen novelty color roses.
There’s nothing quite like the surprise of receiving unexpected flowers. Buying flowers as a pick-me-up for oneself has considerable merit as well. Stop by the shop soon for a treat!
We like to take care of our customers, and to that end we would like to revisit the business of ordering flowers nationwide/worldwide.
People are bombarded daily with beautiful, enticing, slick advertising of bouquets sent everywhere, at a moment's notice, at unbelievable prices. Well, the old adage of "if it sounds too good to be true, then it's not true" comes into it's own in these instances.
The nationally advertised "florists" such as 1-800 Flowers, Just Flowers, Teleflora.com, FTD.com, and myriad others, have large call centers, where the operators are not florists, and many don't know the difference in the types of flowers, the names of flowers, or seasonal availability, or the basic care of cut flowers. They are there to gather as many orders as possible and transfer those orders, which at this time are discounted by up to 35 percent (the order gatherer's cut) to real, brick and mortar shops, who then must take these orders, subtract a delivery fee out of the already impossible price given for the promised item, and try to make the customer happy with a timely delivery of a much smaller bouquet. There is no win-win possible here. The order gatherers are the only winners, not the local florist, and especially not the customer.
We at harkins, can fill any floral need you have, anywhere in the world, as can most any real, brick and mortar florist in the country. We ourselves have an established network of caring, dedicated, real honest-to-God florists, many of which are on a first name basis with us. Let us handle any floral transfers, and cut out those order gathering middle men. We will take your order, and for a small fee of $5, which covers our telephone time to talk to the other florist, we will make sure your order is the best hands possible to fulfill your expectations. Harkins has been doing just this, for the past two generations. Tell your friends and family. We would like to at least slow down the order gatherers as much as possible, they are hurting our entire industry.
Take a look at a link we recently found, it is a real eye-opener.
Care and Handling of.......
The lisianthus, a member of the Gentianaceae family, is known for its many color varieties--especially its blue tones--and long vase life.
Originating in the West Indies, Mexico, and Central and South America, the flower is known botanically as Eustoma grandiflorum.
The common name comes from the Greek words lysis, meaning “dissolution,” and anthos, meaning “flower,” and alludes to the bitter
quality of some medicinal species.
Lisianthus are available from April through October in domestic markets, and may be available slightly earlier in the spring
and later into the fall when purchased from international sources. They come in single-, double - and triple-petaled varieties, and in colors including white, red, purple, pink and blue. With proper care and handling, the colorful blooms can have a vase life of 10-15 days.
Cut the stems under water and remove their lower foliage. Keep away from fruit and other ethylene producing items. Use commercial flower food. The many buds on each stem will all open if taken care of, with fresh water and flower food.
Because of their broad-ranging colors, lisianthus make beautiful additions to almost any design. Their delicate, round blooms add mass while maintaining a soft texture. Lisianthus look great just added to a simple glass, or cylinder of water, perhaps with a few river rocks at the bottom.
This concludes another episode of our little newsletter. We hope you are enjoying your summer. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, please stop by and see us.
Copyright © 2012 harkins, the florist