Saturday, January 2, 2010

Maison Blanche Department store New Orleans

I had the opportunity to photograph the Oakwood Mall Maison Blanche just before the nameplate was removed. The metal shutters were put up to protect the store from Hurricane Georges which mainly missed the city. Maison Blanche was founded in 1897 in New Orleans and went through a series of owners over the years including Mercantile Department stores until Dillard's took the brand over. Maison Blanche was similar to Nordstrom's or a slightly higher end Macy's. Once Dillard's took the brand over in 1998 the stores were rebranded as Dillard's. The locations still left in New Orleans in 1998 were; Lake Forest Plaza (demolished 2008), Oakwood (JCPenney 1999), Clearview (Target 2004), and Canal Street (Ritz Carlton Hotel 2000). The Canal Street store in downtown New Orleans was closed when Dillard's took over closing the last of the downtown department stores.

DH Holmes was another casualty of Dillard's in the late 1980's, but I don't have any pictures of the stores. DH Holmes was very similar to Dillard's but catered to the New Orleans shopper better. DH Holmes had these locations when taken over by Dillard's; Lake Forest Plaza (Closed 1996), Uptown (Closed ?), Downtown Canal Street (closed 1989 now the Chateau Sonesta Hotel), Lakeside (still operating), Esplanade (still operating), Belle Promenade (closed 1999), and Oakwood (moved to new building still operating).


  1. Very nice! I remember seeing Maison Blanche at Orange Park Mall in Florida ca. 1992. It seemed like a very elegant store with a strong french theme. I seem to remember french doors on the building as well. From what I can tell, it looks like Dillard's stripped those elements away from that store.

  2. This was the last New Orleans mall store that had not changed the nameplate to Dillard's at the time. This was one of their newest stores, so it did not have the french theme as the older ones did. The Clearview and Lake Forest stores had the french design, but they did away with most of those designs by the mid 1990's.

  3. D.H. Holmes was also at Hammond Square.

  4. Thanks for the post! I remember these both very well from my childhood! We had a D.H. Holmes in Houma, LA, and to my knowledge, it is the only one that transitioned to Dillard's and retained its original exterior French Quarter/Canal Street faux-facade. Here is an image: Originally, it was only two-story, the wrought-iron was black, and french doors contrasted better. Nevertheless, it should give you an idea of the D.H. Holmes early suburban store design.

    1. The Lafayette D.H. Holmes didn't have the French Quarter facade; it was always brick. When the store was expanded 2 years ago, the natural reddish brown brick was painted white.

  5. hi! I'm working on a book on the history of Maison Blanche for Arcadia's "Images of America" series. I'd love to use your photo of MB Oakwood (and any other cool MB photos you've shot over the years) in the book. If you can help, please contact me at edward at ebranley dot com. Thanks!

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