Lee A. Butler, Physician and Pharmacist
411 Gordon Street
Dr. Butler’s Drug Store on Gordon Street was known as a place that provided affordable health and comfort to the ill and large vanilla ice cream cones to the youngsters. Dr. Butler’s story represents a very special African American success story.
Lee Arthur Butler, born in 1868, the son of former slaves, was able to elevate his status from farm boy to physician—during the difficult times of Jim Crow inequity and racial segregation. It is unknown how or where Dr. Butler attained his medical training – such educational opportunities were rare for African Americans of his day – but solid evidence suggests that Lee Butler attained significant statewide respect as a physician.
He was first elected secretary-treasurer and then treasurer of the Louisiana Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association, an affiliate of the first national organization of African American physicians. He later served as Vice-President-Superintendent of the Good Hope Sanitarium, which was providing health care for black patients, only a couple of years after the establishment of Lafayette’s first hospital, the Lafayette Sanitarium.