Getting the flavor of...
A new, improved Graceland
The king of rock ’n’ roll may never stop adding to his fiefdom, said Adrian Sainz in the Associated Press. Early this month, Elvis Presley’s widow, Priscilla, traveled back to Graceland to cut the ribbon on a $45 million complex that sits across from Elvis’ former Memphis estate and provides museum-quality space for displaying more of the late star’s prized possessions. One new building will house his favorite cars; another will showcase his performance paraphernalia, including gold guitars and sequined jumpsuits. Dubbed Elvis’ Memphis, the new complex “resembles an outdoor mall,” except that among its retail stores are a soundstage, a theater, and an old-time diner named after Elvis’ mother. Graceland itself will operate as before, but your chance to stay at the Heartbreak Hotel has passed. That building is being torn down this summer, and it’s already been replaced by a 450-room resort called the Guest House at Graceland.
A macabre New Orleans apothecary
“Contrary to its nickname, the Big Easy wasn’t such an easy place to live in 1816,” said Kate Silver in The Washington Post. Nowhere is that more evident than at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, a French Quarter townhouse where the nation’s first licensed pharmacist once operated an apothecary. The museum houses a disturbing array of voodoo potions, amputation saws, bloodletting instruments—in short, “the kind of ingredients night terrors are made of.” The tour I joined had barely begun when a docent brandished an enormous syringe and a woman in our group fainted. But those of us who stayed upright were treated to a fascinating talk on the history of medicine before germ theory was understood. Opiates, we learned, were so widely prescribed that even colicky infants were treated with a concoction of wine and opium. Given the pharmacist’s equal faith in arsenic pills and mercury injections, it’s no wonder that voodoo doctors often achieved better results.