Friday, October 21, 2016

La Pharmacie Francaise

One of the highlights of the recent trip to the USA was the Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans.  A little  unobtrusive shop front, bit dusty and unimposing. It was five dollars to get in - the best five dollars we spent in our entire trip. The person in  charge was worth the money alone- a young man in his very early twenties with a chiselled face and jet black hair. He had walked straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe novel. Or off a hammer horror stage set. He took our five dollars and rang it up on an antiquated bronze till. He handed us a laminated guide and away we went. ( We started upstairs as some children- very noisy children and their equally loud mothers had appeared and I thought I should keep away from them as their were sharp instruments at hand.)
Louis J. Dufilho, Jr. of New Orleans was the first to pass the new licensing examination for pharmacists and that made this shop, the first United States apothecary shop to be use standard remedies and adequate treatments of choice.

Even in those days the power of celebrity could be used to sell lotions and potions.

Alcohol might not take the pain away but it helps you to forget it.

                                    Tinctures and lotions, powders and potions

Early spectacles. The discs in the cream box are the early separate corrective lens used to ascertain the final  prescription.

A collection suitable for any small Belgian detective.

It might look like an instrument of torture but I think it's for eyedrops.

A very precise set of scales

I have a modern version of this but mine looks so boring compared to this.

A portrait of one of the funders- I think he had been hitting the hair restorer..

A maternity situation- all laid out... until you realise what the chair in the far corner was for...

Hot water and towels Betsy!!!

You can fill in the blanks here....

An old wheelchair...

                                                                           Ouch ditto

Probably still accurate.

Forceps haven't changed that much

                                              Out the back was a beautiful courtyard,

                                              No home should be without a dish of leeches....

                                                Like he needed a hole in the head!

An old till 

                                                          It got everywhere- even then...

The paper rolls  are actually individual paper cards, rounded off with constant use. They are the prescription records hanging on copper wire.

What a great place to set a novel!

Caro Ramsay 21 10 26


  1. My, my, you ARE a writer: first you drag us through the horrors of the birthing chamber, then make us relax with a visit to the lovely garden terrace, and then WHAM! back to bloodletting and head drills. Sheesh. I don't need this much stress hormones flowing through my veins this early in the morning. Did the apothecary have something for stress relief?

  2. Ahh, laudanum...opium.. your poison.. We settled for the caffeine and carbohydrate available at the coffee shop next door.

  3. Yes, a perfect setting for a perfect crime committed by a criminal mind possessed by his quest for hair restoration, dental implants, and womb-ripping methods.

  4. If it was a criminal mind possessed by a quest for hair restoration, dental implants and fake tan....a certain presidential candidate pops to mind...

  5. Caro, next time we are both visiting the same place, can I go around with you? You always find such interesting spots that I would never come across.