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New Orleans, Louisiana: 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.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

514 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA
In the French Quarter, on the south side of Chartres St. between St. Louis and Toulouse Sts.
Tu-Sa 10-4. Guided tours 1 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $5.
RA Rates:
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Visitor Tips and News About Pharmacy Museum: Leeches!

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New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

No tours post-COVID, but signage is easy to follow and this is well worth a visit. The courtyard is lovely and the information is fascinating. I was particularly intrigued by the pills coated in gold and silver -- for wealthy people (even though they recognized that the metals had no curative properties and would simply pass through your system). Also check out the baby bottles with lead nipples and lead nipple guards for nursing moms. Plan to spend half-an-hour.

[Jennifer Kefer, 07/06/2022]

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is easily the coolest museum in NOLA!

[Amanda, 01/11/2019]

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.

Nearby Offbeat Places

The Man Who Built New OrleansThe Man Who Built New Orleans, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.
Cabildo Museum: Napoleon's Death MaskCabildo Museum: Napoleon's Death Mask, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.
Old Man RiverOld Man River, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Museum of Death, New Orleans, LA - < 1 mi.

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