Story, Photos by Donna Price
Gerald Quarles doesn’t really want anyone coming around to see the four dozen rose bushes in his yard on Foster Street right now because he doesn’t think they look very pretty. “I’m just trying to keep them alive right now,” he said. About six weeks after Valentine’s Day, they’ll be something to see, he said.
When Hurricane Laura hit two years ago, Quarles had 115 rose bushes. They were nearly all destroyed by the storm. He wanted to quit growing the high-maintenance flowers then, because Quarles, now in his early 80s, thought they were requiring too much effort. But when passersby heard this news, they let Quarles know just how much they enjoyed seeing the rose garden and they asked him to continue growing them. Some employees from nearby Christus Ochsner St. Patrick Hospital were among those who urged him not to quit.
So Quarles listened. He planted more bushes. They are all properly labeled in his garden. And then he went a step further and put up a sign among the roses. It reads: “This rose garden is dedicated to the many health care providers in the Lake Area who sacrificed so much to keep us safe during the pandemic, often putting their own safety at risk. A special thanks to those at Christus St. Patrick.”