Mr. Kake Gateau (As called by Daisy in the beginning sequence) was a blind clockmaker who lived in New Orleans. While his son was away during World War I, Gateau was commissioned to build a clock for the local train terminal. However, soon after, word reached Gateau and his wife that their son had been killed in the war.
This struck Gateau hard, but he continued to work on the clock. Finally, on the day of the reveal, a number of people turned out, including Theodore Roosevelt. While the clock was striking in its craftsmanship, once it was started, several of the people noticed a strange thing: the clock ran backwards.
Monsieur Gateau claimed that he designed the clock this way, as a way to wish that those who had been killed in the war (like his son), could possibly come back, and live full lives and have families. Gateau apologizes if he has offended anyone, and takes his leave.
Gateau's whereabouts after the unveiling of his clock are unknown. Rumors abound that he either died of a broken heart since his son had died, or that he had gone off to sea.
The clock he created sat in the station until sometime after the 21st century, when it was taken down and replaced with a digital display clock that ran properly. The clock was housed in the terminal's basement, where it still ticked away, even as flood waters from Hurricane Katrina overtook it.