Ignatius J. Reilly statue removed for Mardi Gras

The life-sized bronze of Ignatius J. Reilly, perhaps New Orleans' most famous fictional character, will return to its customary place on Canal Street tomorrow to resume glowering disapprovingly at passing humanity, the Chateau Bourbon Hotel said. The statue is safe in storage, as it is every Mardi Gras, said hotel general manager Larry Daniels.

ignatius-reilly-statue.jpgThe Ingatius Reilly statue on Canal Street is removed every Mardi Gras. It will be returned Tuesday.

Each Carnival season the hotel in the 800 block of Canal Street removes the iconic statue for a few days and places it in storage. The hotel fences off the space for cash sales of food and drink to Carnival crowds, Daniels said.

But now that that's over the magnificently slovenly Reilly, sporting a too-small cap with flying earflaps and Werlein's bag in hand, is to return to his place Tuesday under the clock at the former D.H. Holmes department store -- now the Chateau Bourbon.

Daniels said the hotel has fielded occasional questions about the missing statue from people who have noticed the absence.

Except for its seasonal disappearances, it's been there since 2002.

Reilly is the creation of John Kennedy Toole whose comic novel, "A Confederacy of Dunces" won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981, 11 years after Toole took his own life.

The statue recalls the novel's opening scene in which Reilly, disapproving of most modern customs and sensibilities, waits for his mother beneath the clock, "studying the crowd of people for signs of bad taste in dress."

Bruce Nolan can be reached at 504.826.3344 or bnolan@timespicayune.com