St. Bernard Drugs
A Family Drug Store
Written by Andrea Blumenstein
The expanse of Highway 90/Chef Menteur Highway, or, if you prefer, “Chef’s Highway” heading east from New Orleans crosses low landscape speckled with businesses ranging in façades from shiny and new to derelict. This disparity is due in part to a series of harsh hits from nature, including Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, a tornado. Just past Read Boulevard, holding court in its own pocket of nature sits St. Bernard Drugs, family owned and operated since 1983.
The building was completely renovated and includes the retail store, pharmacy and a spacious office.
St. Bernard Drugs is an independent community pharmacy that also has a closed-door pharmacy to manage the needs of a variety of long-term care facilities, group homes and surgical centers.
“We have been here since 1983,” says pharmacist Christine Rosenbohm, whose uncle Dominick Sciortino is the patriarch of St. Bernard Drugs.
“That is the reason why we have our customer and patient base,” she says. “We were one of the first businesses – the first pharmacy back after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the community, they still remember that.”
St. Bernard Drugs is truly a family affair. One glance at the walls of the spacious office documents the many accomplishments of the proprietor and his family with plaques, photos and awards. The large desk, stocked with the best kind of pens – the ones that glide over the page – is surrounded by generations smiling from an array of photos.
Here, customers are like family too. “As an independent store, we really do reach out to the customer,” says Rosenbohm, who, by the way, started off working the counter there when she was a youth.
“We have a personal friendship, liaison with our customers. They know that they can come in, or call and we will take the time to talk to them about anything they need for their health and medical needs.” Many of the other employees have been with the store for decades, she notes. Except for the counter workers, whom, like herself, are for the most part in school and working for a family business on the side.
“Sometimes when my uncle is here,” says Rosenbohm, “Customers will sit down and talk and chat for a bit.”
Another signature of St. Bernard Drugs is catering to the incredibly common “My grandmother said… or my mother said…” says Christine. “We have the old-timey wets and dries – clove oil, lavender oil, peppermint oil. People know.” They come repeatedly asking for Scotts Emulsion (cod liver oil) and Two Old Goats because such-and-such said so.
For those looking for more than a home-remedy, St. Bernard Drugs fills prescriptions while you wait. They also offer vaccines to the community, including annual flu, Pneumonia, ZOSTAVAX and TDAP, many of which do not need a prescription.
Owner Dominick Sciortino remains active in the community through Manresa Retreat House and St. Clement of Rome Church. He served as President of the Louisiana Pharmacy Association in 1978, received the Order of St. Louis Medal from Archbishop Schulte in 1993 and is the Past President of Legatus.
St. Bernard Drugs, located at 10200 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70127, is open Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.