New Orleans, Louisiana: New Orleans Pharmacy Museum: Leeches

Live leeches in a fishbowl, voodoo potions, and opium-soaked tampons. America's first licensed pharmacy in 1823; a museum in the French Quarter since 1950.
Address:
514 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA
Directions:
In the French Quarter, on the south side of Chartres St. between St. Louis and Toulouse Sts.
Hours:
T-Sa 10-4 (Call to verify)
Phone:
504-565-8027
Admission:
Adults $5.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About New Orleans Pharmacy Museum: Leeches

Reports and tips from RoadsideAmerica.com visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Ceiling trap door to carriage drive.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

On our walking tour, the guide told us of a grisly side to the pharmacy. There is a trap door in the ceiling above the carriage space. On the upper floor of the pharmacy the pharmacist infected people with yellow fever, then promised to pay them when they helped him find the cure, which didn't happen. When the patients died, he used the ceiling trap door to drop the bodies into his wagon, drove it to the swamp, and fed the bodies to the alligators -- which is why he was never caught. The pharmacist confessed his illegal experiments years later, on his death bed.

[Lisa NW, 03/20/2016]
Pharmacy Museum

We walked in on the second half of the tour when we arrived at the museum. The "tour" was more of a lecture/show-and-tell on the main floor. It is a must: the guide is charming, funny, and he delivered a remarkable amount of information in a short span of time. Really fascinating!

[Lauren B, 10/25/2014]

Pharmacy Museum sign.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

This is a fun little two floor museum. I couldn't take any pictures of the exhibits because a sign outside indicates phones aren't allowed. There are lots of antique bottles and preparation devices There is a section on questionable practices such as blood letting and a display of instruments. The Voodoo section is particularly interesting. The cures were carried around in pockets in clothing and not ingested.

The second floor has sections on gasses, dental care and homeopathy.

[Dan Kaplan, 04/22/2012]

Jan. 2013: Photo added.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

You can learn a lot about medicine (old and new) in this museum. The leeches are gross but cool. Maybe I'm biased being the son of a pharmacist, but I found this more interesting than the dumb shops in the F.Q. They all have the same trinkets and beads.

[Jon P, 09/10/2011]
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Located in the French Quarter, this place features leeches, opiates, and some brutal looking tools. The first licensed pharmacy in the USA, this three story museum displays medical oddities that helped to make our current level of health care what it is today. "La Pharmacie Francaise" was constructed in 1823 for America's first licensed pharmacist, Louis J. Dufilho Jr. It's been open as a museum since 1950.

[Johnathan Christian, 08/15/2003]

Nearby Offbeat Places

The Man Who Built New OrleansThe Man Who Built New Orleans, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.
Cabildo Museum - Death Mask, Caskets, LeechesCabildo Museum - Death Mask, Caskets, Leeches, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.
Old Man RiverOld Man River, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Kuyper Cake Collection, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.

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