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National Hansen's Disease Museum, Carville

4.8
#50 of 74 in Museums in Louisiana
Specialty Museum Museum
The National Hansen's Disease Museum is a historical museum in Carville, Louisiana at the site of a former sugar plantation and was once home of the Carville National Leprosarium.HistoryLocated on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River in Carville, Louisiana, the National Leprosarium was one of two leprosy hospitals in the United States. An abandoned sugar plantation became the Louisiana Leper Home in 1894. The facility promoted understanding, identification, and treatment of leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease. Many patients entered the gates under mandatory quarantine and never left the hospital again.The facility began work with a patient load of five men and two women in the 1890s, and would grow into a facility housing hundreds of employees and patients, including married couples and children. Louisiana Leper Home was known as "a place of refuge, not reproach; a place of treatment and research, not detention". It offered hope and a comfortable refuge from society.In 1921, the U.S. Public Health Service took control and the facility became U.S. Marine Hospital Number 66, the National Leprosarium of the United States. Patient Stanley Stein, known as "Carville's Crusader", began a two-page newsletter in 1941. It grew into The STAR, a world-renowned newspaper that is still in publication.In 1986, the facility became the Gillis W. Long Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy) Center, named after the distinguished United States Congressman Gillis W. Long. He was an advocate for people living and working with Hansen's disease. Most Public Health Service hospitals were closed during the 1980s but Long was successful in lobbying Congress to keep Carville open for the patients who wanted to remain on site, even though mandatory quarantine ceased to be law in Louisiana in the late 1950s. The name change was directly linked to Congressman Long's influence in keeping the hospital open.
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  • The visit to this museum was well worth the trip off the beaten path. I was so touched by the love and care shown to many people affected by Hansen's disease, once known as leprosy. The site became th...  more »
  • Truly an informative and outstanding opportunity to see the story of Carville and the history of this leprosy colony. The curator deserves many accolades for the work she has done. Well worth your tim...  more »
  • It truly was a miracle cure, of leprosy. The patients were quarantined for life. So much misinformation and misunderstandings about this disease still exist - but the truth is in Carville. In the 1940...  more »