A Royal Mystery

The Royal Pharmacy, which crouches on the corner of Royal St. and Ursulines in the French Quarter, has rather an aura of Landmark about it.  An aura of “I have always been here” and, really, that is not entirely untrue.

From what I have been able to discover thus far, the property has been a pharmacy in one form or another for approximately 100 years, and run by the same family in its current form since the 1930s.  I suspect that walking through their front door would be a bit like stepping into a time machine.  While continuing to offer those things that a pharmacy or corner store provides, it also carries with it a certain amount of historic preservation.

I would not know, however, and herein lies my mystery:

Although operational hours posted online in the Yahoo directory proclaim that they are open “Sunday to Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,” I have yet to experience that this is, indeed, the case.  Many hours have I spent, on foot in the French Quarter, and many times have I passed the Royal Pharmacy in hopes of at last discovering that the sign on their front door would read, “Open.”  These moments of passing by have been varied, to be sure.  Different times of day and evening, sundry days of the week, over a course of several years, beginning in 2008.

Never open.  Nay, never.

Utilizing my internet tools, I struck forth to do a bit of research.  Information has been limited.  A phone number, hours.  The small piece of history that I was able to glean about its age, I discovered in a review on Yelp dated 2008.  The most recent mention of them there was in 2011.  Otherwise, I have turned up nothing.

At first, as a visitor to this fair city, I felt that perhaps my holiday-limited amblings kept me from arriving at just that right time, that right moment.  Say, when the clock strikes 13 and the sun and moon caress in the sky over the duck, which previously squawked at dawn.  Now that I am here to stay, I have spent far more varied time in the Vieux Carre, and have found myself guiding us, en route to Elsewhere, past that corner.  Just to check.

I fear that, over the years, it has become an obsession.  I am not seeking any particular item, nor do I drastically and tragically need the pharmacy to be open.   Rather, I simply wish to one day step inside, like a runner crossing a finish line first to collect their prized trophy.  This is why I’ve not committed the mundane and simple act of merely calling their listed phone number to make an inquiry.  Why, that would ruin the mystery a fair bit too easily, would it not?

O’ Royal Pharmacy!
Why hast thou locked thine
Very gates against me?

I would be grateful and interested, should a New Orleanian happen to pass this way, and enlighten me.  Just a little.

Until then, a Royal Mystery as yet unsolved.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. PhilB says:

    ack! Nobody say a word! It’s gone too far now, telling Sooz anything would just spoil the mystery.

    1. HAHAH Phil! I know, I am a contradiction unto myself, expressing the desire to keep the mystery and then asking for input. Figures. ;D I DO really wanna know eventually, though, but NEVAH in such a mundane way as *gasp!* picking up the phone. 😉

      1. PhilB says:

        Okay people are allowed to leave breadcrumbs, but only if it increases the mystery like a season X-Files ep.

  2. Will says:

    The third time we came to Nola, in 2008, we stayed at the Hotel Provincial which is about a block away. We went in a couple of times during that trip, but quickly found that they kept funky hours. A couple of times on that trip we’d be craving something and would head there only to find it closed; we then would head to one of the numerous corner stores on Dauphine. Every year we’ve gone back since then and I don’t remember seeing it open.

    Yes, very strange.

    1. Ah, so mayhap it is a matter of timing! It IS strange, I’m glad I’m not the only one who has encountered this. It is tempting to stake the place out for about three days nonstop, just to see what happens, har har. ;D

      1. Will says:

        I’ve always taken it as how they do business at the corner stores in Nola. With one exception, I’ve never seen them open at predictable times. The one exception is pretty funny, the same guy is there nearly 24 hours a day. Every time I went in, no matter whether it was the morning or night, it was always the same clerk.

        On a sad note, one of the last corner stores on the Hill (in Denver) closed, the one at 13th & Downing. Don’t know if you ever went in there when you lived here.

  3. Will – I think that is more than likely the case! And aw MAN! Yes, that was my old neighborhood, I’m sad to hear that they closed. 😦

  4. infamaus says:

    Sooz, You can handle this. Remember Grimauld House. There’s more to this than what it seems to be at first glance. Get yer wand out, peek around the corner at it, a sidelong glance. Or, maybe just ignore it for awhile, and it’ll get bored with than and suddenly open. But tread lightly. Wands out and at the ready!

    1. RIGHT! You are so right!

      Latest update: we walked by there on Saturday night, around 9:30 en route to Lafitte’s, and while it was still closed and more than likely had been all day, the lights were on! I can’t recall if I’ve seen the lights on before or not, but now I notice that sort of thing, haha!

  5. Wanderlust Scarlett says:

    This is going to keep me hooked with rapt attention for an indefinite period of time. *hooked* I tell you.

    Please update, should there be an update!
    Anxiously waiting!
    …and of course I know you will grant us photos for the outsiders inside view…

    ….*waits hopeful*

    Scarlett & V

  6. bayoucreole says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post…lol
    Sooz, I wish I could help but, I have no earthly idea as to why they’re always closed.
    Now, I’m curious myself! 🙂

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