In the 1840s Daniel Henry Holmes established a number of department stores in and around New Orleans. His company's main building on Canal Street became something of a city landmark and its entrance beneath the clock was well known as a meeting place.
John Kennedy Toole's novel opens with Ignatius J Reilly waiting for his mother under the clock. A statue of Ignatius by William Ludwig was set up on the spot in 1996. It has survived a number of attempts to steal it, as well as the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.
D H Holmes reached its zenith in the early 1980s when the company had 21 stores in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The arrival of retail giants like Macy's and the development of shopping malls, however, led to a swift decline and the chain was finally sold to Dillard's in 1989.
The Canal Street building is now a hotel.