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History of pharmacy in the Big Easy

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New Orleans is a major US holiday destination. Most tourists head for the French Quarter, attracted by the architecture, the tourist-oriented jazz and the chance to sit on the Mississippi levee scoffing a muffuletta and watching the mock paddle steamers motoring by.

But the Big Easy has much more to offer, since it includes a number of eclectic museums. On your way down Chartres Street to visit the Cabildo at No 701, the Presbytère at 751, the Old Ursuline Convent at 1100 or Beauregard-Keyes House at 1113, you may wish to stop off at No 514, a museum of pharmacy in the heart of the city’s historic Vieux Carré district.

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum occupies a creole townhouse that was once the premises of America’s first licensed pharmacist, Louis J. Dufilho Jr. In 1804 the State of Lousiana introduced a licensing examination for pharmacists, and Dufilho, who had graduated in pharmacy in Paris, was the first to pass the three-hour oral assessment. He went on to practise pharmacy in New Orleans for many years, including running his business in Chartres Street from 1823 to 1855.

The Dufilho building became a museum in 1950. It houses the largest and most diverse pharmacy collection anywhere in the US. Exhibits include patent medicines, pharmacy books and dispensing equipment dating back to the early 1800s.

The ground floor is set out as a 19th century pharmacy. Its contents reflect the fact that in Dufilho’s time Louisiana pharmacies sold not only European medicines but also native American remedies, African-American herbal medicines and even voodoo potions. On the floor above, you can wander through the Dufilho family quarters.

With an entry fee of only US$5 (less for students and seniors, and free for tinies), the museum is well worth a visit if you happen to be holidaying in N’Orleans.

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From: Beyond pharmacy blog

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