Preparations: Medical, Mystical, And Logistical

Earlier today, I decided to follow Lisa’s suggestion and visit the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. After Linda’s awesome voodoo post, I got the impression that pictures of musty hand-labeled vessels of liniment and snake oil would appeal to C&ENtral Science readers.

This is the door to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. It has ornate and nicely timeworn handles. It also was locked when I got there.

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Ray Burks had accompanied me on the journey and found out from a shopkeeper next door that it’s best to book a tour of the place in advance. I’m leaving town tomorrow, so I suppose the full tour will have to wait until the next New Orleans-based conference. (The next ACS National Meeting to be held here will be in 2013, but who’s counting?)

So as not to deprive you, gentle readers, of the aura of the place, I did my best to take some photos through the glass door. Check out the mortar and pestle collection and bottles that once contained sedatives.

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Only slightly dejected, we made our way back to the convention center, but Ray was drawn to the Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, a charming palm reading/tea shop that sells a fantastic array of mineral spheres for customers to use in meditation and other rituals. Shopkeeper Tom Mullen enthusiastically rattled off a list of his wares: calcite, obsidian, garnet, malachite, rose quartz. “Not gem quality, of course,” he interjects. He says he’s had a fair number of chemists come by his shop this week. I’m not surprised–it’s easy to get lost in the flavorful tea selection and the fossilized trilobites for sale alongside the stones.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve mapped and scheduled things out pretty precisely when I go someplace new. This experience made me glad that for once, I wasn’t so prepared.

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Author: Carmen Drahl

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2 Comments

  1. I got to go to the pharmacy museum back in 2003 when I was in town. Lots of wacky old glassware. Also on the second floor they had suppository moulds, which is awesome, and souvenir pens that looked like syringes. Very cool. Too bad it wasn’t open.

  2. I always found it funny that there are those who still practice things like homeopathy or ayurveda, but no one seems to be out there defending the merits of “The Amazing Humphrey’s Wondrous Hair Tonic” (flavored whisky) peddled by moustachioed charlatans in rural towns in the 1880’s. I guess the folks who suffered through eight nonconsecutive years of GroverClevelandomics just aren’t considered exotic enough.