Cultural Spotlight: New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

 

If you take a look into New Orleans’ charming past, you’ll find a bevy of historic haunts. From Preservation Hall to the famous Cafe Du Monde, important historic and cultural landmarks makeup a large part of the city’s presence.  

One site that hosts a significant part of the Big Easy’s history is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, located in the French Quarter. Listed under the National Register of Historic Places, the museum offers an expansive collection of pharmacy and healthcare artifacts in Louisiana. Serving as a unique educational tool and reminder of NOLA’s rich role in United States medical history.

Let’s explore what the New Orleans Pharmacy has to offer:

History

Louis J. Dufilho, Jr. was America’s first licensed pharmacist. Contributing to the significance, reputation, and integrity in the field of pharmacy, he played an essential role in medical history. However, his most significant contributed occurred in 1816. Signed by Governor Claiborne in 1804, the state of Louisiana passed a law requiring that all pharmacists must take an examination for licensing to practice professionally. Previously, there were informal territory licensing measures that were not largely enforced. A person could apprentice as a pharmacist for 6 months and then make their own medicines and concoctions without any safety and standard practices or regulatory oversight. Often, the public received incorrect dosages or wrong and ineffective medications. However, the passage of the 1804 law established a board of credible pharmacists and physicians to administer three-hour oral examinations at the Cabildo in Jackson Square. As the first person to pass the licensing examination, Louis J. Dufilho, Jr.’s apothecary shop became the first pharmacy in the United States to operate on the basis of scientific adequacy. Today, the museum sits on the site of America’s first licensed apothecary.

Mission

To further the history and interest into New Orleans and the medical history of America at-large, the museum proudly promotes the development and education of pharmacology history for the general public since 1950. The museum holds over 3,000 artifacts and seeks to address the deep cultural understandings of medical issues at the time while helping visitors understand how pharmacology developed in New Orleans.

Exhibits

The museum, also called La Pharmacie Francaise, is located in a townhouse On the first floor, the museum showcases artifacts such as show globes, opium, perfumes, cosmetics, “gris gris” voodoo potions, patent instruments, surgical instruments, administrative methods, prescriptions and compounding, and insights into questionable medical practices of the time.

The second floor plays host to the unique living quarters and architecture of the building, local excavated medicine and voodoo bottles, and Dr. J. William Rosenthal’s spectacles collection. Among the museum’s most exotic findings, guests can see live leeches, pre-Civil War syringes, and cupping jars. Guests can also view what a physicians study and sick room looked like in the past.

Many of the exhibits show instruments that are deeply tied to the culture and folklore of New Orleans’ diverse cultural heritage. In addition, a historic courtyard displays plants and herbs that were, and still are, often used in medicines. A carriage house, and loggia help give more clarity into the everyday lifestyles of people who used this building.

Admission for the museum is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors/students. It’s also free for children under 6-years-old. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Located at 514 Charles St in New Orleans, all admission features a free 1 p.m. guided tour, except Saturdays. As one of the best museums in New Orleans, according to numerous travel sites, be sure to check out one of the most enchanting and introspective museums in NOLA’s cultural and historical landscape.

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Cultural Spotlight: New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Federal City

 

NOLA’s Federal City neighborhood is undergoing a renaissance. It consists of a public-private mixed-use development located on 156 acres of the former Naval Support Activity New Orleans on the West Bank. The base closed in 2011, and since then the facility has slowly been transforming into a high-end residential community along the waterfront. Recently, however, the massive redevelopment effort has accelerated and includes both residential and limited commercial spaces.

The residential development includes apartments, condos and single-family homes, and there are also plans for grocery stores and other small businesses to support the neighborhood. The area is being branded as the New Orleans Riverside at Historic Algiers. Federal City is located on the Mississippi River next to Algiers, and its boundaries consist of Hendee Street, the river, General Collins Avenue, Newton Street and General Meyer Avenue.

History

The land was originally part of a huge West Bank concession given to New Orleans’ founder Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, in 1719. It was later purchased by the US government in 1849. In 1901, the US Naval Station was formally established. The Naval Station underwent several long periods of inactivity, and in 1962 was designated as the Headquarters, Naval Support Activity. At its height, the complex employed over 4,6000 people with a $142 million annual payroll. The base closed in 2011, and the city has hired and fired several developers who failed to deliver on the area’s redevelopment plans.

Current Day

Today, the Algiers Development District, the City of New Orleans, and state and local officials are collaborating to fulfill the promise of Federal City’s rebirth, and the project is one of the largest economic development initiatives for the state of Louisiana. The mission is to, not only create housing, but economic opportunities while simultaneously serving the retail, entertainment and recreational needs of West Bank and Greater New Orleans residents.

The effort has already resulted in a number of vital neighborhood amenities, including several businesses, a fitness center, pool, retail center, hotel, auditorium, college, churches, schools and a walking/bike path that spans from Algiers Point Ferry Terminal to the former Todd Shipyard. As the redevelopment effort progresses, expect to see more grocery and convenience stores, restaurants and retail spaces, parks and public spaces, as well as the implementation of Phase II of the walking/bike path, which will culminate in 5.6 miles of well-lit, riverfront trails stretching all the way to the Chalmette Ferry Landing.

Landmarks and Events:

Algiers Auditorium: destination venue for performances and other events
Algiers Fall Festival: live music, local art and food
Craige Cultural Center: community center and event space
Federal City Community Garden: shared space for planting
J&K Bar: bar with gaming, darts, billiards and more
LeBeauf-Ott Country Retreat: historic home built in the late 1840s

The up-and-coming Federal City neighborhood is sure to grow quickly as it adds residences, shops and office buildings. For a vibrant and dynamic area with an idyllic setting, deep history and strong community ties, Federal City is not to be missed.

Check out the rest of my neighborhood series to learn about other great areas in New Orleans.

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Federal City

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: St. Roch

 

 

St. Roch, a subdistrict of the Bywater neighborhood, stands as a major representative area of New Orleans’ working class families for decades. With a varied history that begins with the trading routes and cultural immersion of New Orleans’ history, the district has seen a variety of changes in recent years.

Our exploration of the neighborhood will give us insight into the changing demographics of the neighborhood and the future of this culturally proud, up-and-coming area.

History

Originally named Faubourg Franklin, New Orleans’ St. Roch neighborhood was created as a neighborhood along the trading routes of NOLA’s waterways. In 1830, the area began to develop as the Pontchartrain Railroad connected the Milneburg settlement with the Faubourg Marginay to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. In 1867, St. Roch got its name after the German priest, Rev. Peter Leonard Thevis, who arrived in New Orleans and built the St. Roch chapel there after his prayers were met that no one in the parish would die during the Yellow Fever epidemic. Many religious followers thought this brought healing to the neighborhood.

Before the Civil War, the neighborhood was one of the first to host a proud inclusion of the country’s largest populations of free people of color. Later, in the 20th century, St. Roch had grown in size with new technological advances like sewer and water services added to the area. In the late 1920s, the neighborhood was considered a tranquil and low-key part of New Orleans. It was also known as a predominantly racially mixed residential section. Many black and Creole families living in the area also led to the establishment of many private and parochial schools.

Although considered beautiful and peaceful throughout its past history, St. Roch was also known for its recreational offerings. Baseball fields, its historic blacksmith shops, small farms, and dairies dotted the area.

Current Day

In recent years, the St. Roch neighborhood has become known as the “New Marginay” for the restoration and demographic shifts in the neighborhood, now largely African American because of the construction of the I-10 splitting up the neighborhood.

After Hurricane Katrina, many of the houses and landmarks were heavily damaged and many of the local residents moved out. However, numerous revitalization efforts were spearheaded to clean up and rebuild much of the neighborhood. St. Roch CDC has helped to restore several historic houses and office buildings in the area. With landscapers planting trees and new plants in the area, the neighborhood has attempted to revert back to its original state.

Landmarks

Today, revitalization efforts are helping to rebuild the area back to its glory and its slowly drawing new residents and visitors to experience the historical glory and beauty of a district that showcases the spirit and historical diversity of New Orleans.

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: St. Roch

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Carrollton

Carrollton boasts a noteworthy presence among the historic buildings and avenues of New Orleans. As a significant area of Uptown New Orleans, the neighborhood includes the Carrollton Historic District, recognized by the Historic District Landmark Commission.

Although it used to be its own village, Carrollton lies far upriver, but is still lies in easy proximity to the French Quarter. It’s boundaries consist of downriver Jefferson Parish, the Mississippi River, Fig Street, and Lowerline Street.

History

During the American Civil War, Carrollton was quickly seized by Union control where soldiers were known to be heavy drinkers under the command of General John W. Phelps. At that time, General Benjamin F. Butler issued order that forbade the sale of liquor. However, Andrew J. Butler — the General’s brother — persuaded him to lift the ban. Afterwards, Andrew benefited from the lucrative liquor trade, helping the small, local economy expand. In addition, local cattle was brought in from Texas and products like flour from the North. Butler quickly established a monopoly on groceries, medicines, and necessities brought into the New Orleans neighborhood.

Current Day

The neighborhood’s main street is Carrollton Avenue which is lined with beautiful Southern oaks and includes features such as the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar running on the central median. Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans are located just three blocks below the neighborhood allowing many students, staff, and faculty to support the local businesses of Carrollton. In addition to the two main streets of Carrollton and Saint Charles Avenue, the neighborhood also hosts two traditional neighborhood main streets that are feature both mixed residential and commercial use. On Maple Street, the neighborhood offers numerous restaurants, coffee salons, bars, and upscale shops. Upper Carrollton also features Oak Street, a busy center for moderately larger businesses that range from restaurants, live music venues like the Maple Leaf Bar to hardware stores. In the Northern Carrollton section, Palmer Park hosts moderately-sized live music festivals every year. In the park, memorials to Carolltonians who died in World War I is featured as another remnant of the neighborhood’s historical ties.

One historic section that guests should appreciate while in the area is the “Black Pearl”, a 20th century predominately African-American part of Carrollton along the riverfront. The Queen of Gospel music, Mahalia Jackson, was a prominent player from this area. In the late 1800s, Carrollton was the site of the Rising Sun Hall which was a building used for Social Aid and Pleasure Club meetings, used for dances and functions. It is thought that it was the inspiration for the famous 1960’s song “The House of the Rising Son” by The Animals.

Historically, the neighborhood became home to a melange of ethnicities including German, Irish, and numerous European settlers in the 19th century. In addition, freed slaves were able to own homes in this area before the Civil War.

Landmarks and Restaurants:

As you stroll throughout this elegant community, you will find remnants of strong community ties, history, and a united pride in ethnic heritage. It’s easy to reminisce about the historical events that have come to call Carrollton home. Enjoy the eclectic landscape that the area has to offer!

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Carrollton

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Algiers Point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOLA’s Algiers Point neighborhood is a a quiet suburb on the Mississippi River’s West Bank. Coined Algiers Point in the 1970’s, it’s known for its quaint houses, small art galleries, the open-air concerts at Algiers Ferry Landing and its three miles of walking and biking trails along its riverfront, the perfect stretch for picnics and enjoying great views of the New Orleans skyline.

The City Planning Commission defines the area as approximately 50 city blocks bounded by Opelousas Avenue, Pacific Avenue and the river. Some houses in Algiers Point predate the Civil War, though most of the houses were built after the fire of 1985 destroyed much of the original housing.

Algiers Point History

Algiers was part of the land grant given to New Orleans founder Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville by the Company of the Indies in 1719. Before being annexed to New Orleans in 1970, Algiers was a bustling town with its own governance and thriving economy. The Algiers-Canal Street Ferry began operating in 1827, and has been in continuous operation ever since. The area became known for shipbuilding, repair and other riverfront endeavors, and by the 1850’s, rail yards lining the riverside employed many of the town’s residents. At its height, Algiers Point operated six separate ferries to New Orleans’ East Bank, including one capable of carrying livestock and railroad cars.

The town was built on the site of the Duverje Plantation, which was subdivided by its owner around 1839. The plantation home, built in 1812, became the Algiers Courthouse, but was ultimately destroyed by the fire of 1895. The fire also leveled several blocks of the original neighborhood, demolishing much of the early architecture.

Algiers Point Today

While some early buildings still exist, including several Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian styles, the District is now largely comprised of early 20th century architectural styles.

Given its long history as an independent municipality, Algiers Point retains a small-town atmosphere, largely independent from the bustle of the French Quarter and the rest of the city despite its close proximity. Today, it’s a favorite for local musicians and artists. Some even refer to it as “the Brooklyn of New Orleans.”

Landmarks and Events

Some great locations to visit in Algiers Point include:

Cafes, Restaurants and Bars

Homey pubs and restaurants are a staple in Algiers Point:

Algiers Point has something for everyone. If the lovely old oak trees and pastel cottages don’t charm you, the parks, restaurants and galleries certainly will. Check out the rest of my neighborhood series to learn about other great areas in New Orleans.

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Algiers Point

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: St. Claude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Claude Avenue has emerged as a New Orleans hotspot for locals and tourists alike, attracting visitors with a string of art galleries, dance clubs, live music and restaurants. The St. Claude neighborhood, also known as the Upper 9th Ward, has become a mecca for fringe artists and performers seeking to align themselves with a more “authentic” version of New Orleans. The neighborhood includes the attractions of St. Claude Avenue, as well as plenty of residential space within its interior. It’s one of the oldest parts of the city, and much of it remains largely unchanged, offering charming historic housing stock for a fraction of the price. It’s an up-and-coming area that, given its slate of younger residents, thriving art scene, and recent press, some might argue has already made it big.

St. Claude is a subdistrict of the Bywater District, which has also garnered national attention for its recent renaissance. St. Claude’s boundaries, as defined by the City Planning Commission, include: Law, Montegut and North Galvez Streets to the north, Lesseps Street to the East, Burgundy Street, Clouet Street and St. Claude Avenue to the south, and Franklin Avenue to the west.

History

In colonial times, the area consisted mostly of plantation land, with residential development starting in the first decade of the 19th century. The area was known as part of the predominantly French “downtown” section of New Orleans. Soon, St. Claude welcomed settlers from Spain and the French Caribbean, and, later in the century, white and mixed-race Creoles, as well as immigrants from Germany, Italy and Ireland.

The neighborhood began attracting artistic communities in the late 1990s. Pre-Katrina, St. Claude Avenue was a gritty street populated by furniture stores and a smattering of oddball shops. The neighborhood was working-class and predominantly black. Post-Katrina, it’s a mix of flood-ravaged homes, trash-littered streets, and higher-ground areas containing well-maintained, historic homes and changing demographics. The high ground section on the Mississippi River side of St. Claude Avenue escaped significant flooding, as did areas on the Gentilly Ridge and along the lakefront fill. Other areas contain strings of uninhabitable, abandoned homes.

The Desire streetcar line, made famous by Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, links St. Claude with the rest of the city. Bywater and St. Claude are often referred to as the “old neighborhood,” by locals who lament the ongoing trend of gentrification.

St. Claude Today

St. Claude is a mix of old and new. It’s still home to gritty streets and general ruin, yet hipsters, artists and bohemians have flocked there, rehabbing old homes, driving up prices and opening the city’s hippest cafes, galleries and wellness studios. No longer a fringe phenomenon, St. Claude is becoming a universal destination, earning mention in nearly all of the city’s press.

Landmarks:

Some of the most notable landmarks in St. Claude include:

The Musicians’ VIllage: An artist’s community designed to aid local musicians and preserve the city’s culture following Hurricane Katrina.

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music: Facility serving at-risk children, youth and musicians.

St. Claude Arts District: An artist-run arts district comprised of over two dozen collectives, co-ops and pop-ups along St. Claude Avenue.

New Orleans Healing Center: A community center featuring a fitness center, art galleries, a yoga studio, a voodoo shop, and more.

Dancing Grounds: A dance studio offering dance classes and community youth programs.

The New Movement: An improv and sketch comedy theater offering fresh shows seven days a week.

Cafes, Restaurants and Bars:

Most coveted hot spots are on or around St. Claude Avenue. Be sure to visit:

N7:  Elegant French wine bar named one of the 10 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit.

Sneaky Pickle: A highly rated vegan restaurant using locally-sourced ingredients.

Junction: A tavern serving over 40 beers on tap and fancy burgers.

St. Coffee on St. Claude: A highly regarded cafe serving great coffee, vegan snacks and herbal concoctions.

Saturn Bar: A dive bar that showcases alternative bands, guest DJs and dance parties.

Expect for St. Claude to continue to grow in popularity as it takes a central position in NOLA’s art scene and tourism.

Check out the rest of my neighborhood series to learn about other great areas in New Orleans.

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: St. Claude

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Lakewood

Louisiana Travel/Flickr

NOLA’s Lakewood neighborhood is an elegant and beautified subdistrict in the Lakeview District Area. A low-lying neighborhood, it is known for its lush scenery, residential communities, tidy homes, and historic characteristics that make the small neighborhood a unique area in New Orleans.

The City Planning Commission defines its borders as Veterans Memorial Boulevard to the north and Pontchartrain Boulevard and the Pontchartrain Expressway to the east. Numerous streets make up the neighborhood’s southern border including Last, Dixon, Hamilton, Peach, Mistletoe, and Quince among others. The 17th Street Canal makes up Lakewood’s western border.

History

Before many residential construction began in the area, the Lakewood Country Club acted as a major social hub for decades and later it would help establish the small subdistrict. After the completion of I-10 and I-610 routes in the 1960s, a large part of the land where the Lakewood Country Club’s golf course was established was expropriated for the huge interchange. The Country Club then relocated to New Orleans’ Algiers neighborhood. The remaining golf land was then redeveloped as Lakewood North and Lakewood South districts. While the old clubhouse stood for years, it was eventually used for the New Orleans Academy which is now closed. Ultimately, the club house was torn down to make way for the LDS Church which in turn was demolished after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Longue Vue Historic House and Gardens

One main appeal of this quiet, picturesque neighborhood is the National Historic Landmark, Longue Vue Historic House and Gardens. Built between 1939 and 1942 for  Edgar and Edith Stern, the house was designed by architects William and Geoffrey Platt, Ellen Biddle Shipman, and the Platt Brothers. The stunning home and gardens now stand as a feat of utility and beauty combining both house and gardens. The 8 acre property boasts 8 dependencies, 5 structures, 14 garden areas, and 22 fountains and ponds. It is one of the last Country Place Era homes built in the United States. In 2005, the site was also named a National Historic Landmark. The gardens are especially noted for its large range of flowers and significant because the female designer, Ellen Biddle Shipman, exercised complete control over its creation.

Not only does the home host a number of tours, they also offer events such as yoga classes and other activities. In addition, summer camp and other educational opportunities allow students of all ages to experience the joys of the house and gardens.

In addition, the Metairie Cemetery which boasts the largest collection of funeral statues and elaborate marble tombs in the city. The site was the previous site of a horse racing track in 1838.

If you’re looking for an elegant area to stroll and enjoy the natural beauty of New Orleans, then this is a great neighborhood that’s tucked away from the busy central are of the city. Enjoy the landscaped marvels and the sophistication the Lakewood neighborhood has to offer.

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Lakewood