|"I'll meet you under the clock"
|D. H. Holmes Department Store:
A New Orleans Tradition
|Dauphine Street entrance
|The link to this page is:
"I'll Meet You Under the Clock" - D. H. Holmes, Page 1
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|The top photo of Holmes decorated for Christmas is from 1946. Just as the
Holmes clock was a popular meeting place, Holmes holiday window displays
were a popular stop for New Orleanians for many years. Crowds gathered and
went from window to window to admire the handiwork of the decorators.
When I was a child, my mother and I would make a special night time trip to Canal
Street to see the decorations - the Holmes window displays in particular. We
never made a shopping trip at night at any other time, so it was always exciting
for me. The displays seemed magical and, as time passed, they became more
and more intricate and more wonderful to behold.
Years later, when my son was small, we'd make the same special night time trek
to Canal Street to gaze at the same windows I'd looked at as a child. I treasure
the memories of both childhood experiences, my own and my son's.
Holiday displays are much more sophisticated than they were when I held my
mother's hand and waited patiently (or sometimes not so patiently) for it to be
our turn to get to the front of the crowd to see those displays. But I doubt if
current presentations are viewed by today's children with any more joy and
wonder than the children who were fortunate enough to take a night time ride
on a streetcar to see those amazing displays in the Holmes store windows.
D. H. Holmes is just a memory, but, thanks to two enterprising New Orleanians,
the clock was rescued and found its way back home. Story at bottom of page.
|Night view of Canal Street, 1961
|Holmes ad, 1960's, cost of bridal gown: $225
|First floor escalator, Holmes Canal Street store
|Just before the Holmes chain of stores was sold
to Dillard's in 1989. Dillard's closed the Canal
Street store almost immediately after the
purchase. The store had been open 140 years.
|When the Holmes chain was sold to Dillard's, many New Orleanians wondered
what would happen to the clock that had hung for generations in front of the
Canal Street store. Two of those folks had no doubt that the store would
soon disappear...and so would the clock. So they decided to take matters
into their own hands and save this much loved piece of New Orleans history.
They left home under cover of darkness, armed with wire-cutters and a
ladder. They came home with the clock.
For six years, while the fate of the building hung in the balance, they hung
onto the clock. Finally, with the building renovated and the Chateau Sonesta
Hotel open for business, they brought it back home.
For two years, the clock resided in the hotel's Clock Bar, but in 1997, it was
re-installed in its proper place, in front of the building. It was taken down for
safekeeping as Hurricane Katrina approached, but put back two months
later. It's now a Hyatt Hotel, but the clock remains.