What is known in some parts of the country as a "submarine sandwich" and in other parts as a "hoagie," is called a "po-boy" in New Orleans. And, like many other uniquely New Orleans and Louisiana creations, there is a festival to celebrate it, as well as a colorful story behind it.
The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival will take place on November 3rd along a commercial strip of Oak Street in the city's Carrollton neighborhood. The one-day-only event, with hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., features live music, arts and crafts and – of course -- booths offering many different types of po-boys.
Fried shrimp, oysters and catfish, along with ham and cheese and roast beef are the favorites but there are over 60 choices to choose from! You can order them "dressed" with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mayo or "naked" without the condiments. Either way they are yummy!
Stay tuned for a list of the 2019 restaurants. Past vendors included Parkway Bakery, Mahony's, Walker's BBQ, Voleo's Seafood Restaurant, Vincent's, Trenasse, Seither's, Red Fish Grill, Oceana Grill, Jacques-Imo's, Boucherie and many more.
Creative variations impress the judges every year. Think softshell crab, cochon de lait, escargot, alligator sausage, duck debris, crawfish boudin, and of course classics like shrimp, oyster and roastbeef- just to name a few! Breads on Oak will be serving all VEGAN po-boys.
Past stars of the show included Vincent's "Godfather Po-boy" which consists of meatballs, Italian sausage, brisket, mozzarella cheese, basil and red sauce; Parkway's "The James Brown" which consists of slow roasted bbq beef, fried shrimp, torched pepper jack cheese with Crystal and Tobasco infused aioli, lettuce, tomato and pickles, and Voleos Seafood Restaurant's "Cajun Surf & Turf Smothered Rabbit Po-Boy".
Not only is the festival a culinary celebration of a famous sandwich, it also celebrates the rebirth of a once-thriving shopping district with roots as deep as the neighborhood itself. Carrollton was a separate city until it was annexed by New Orleans in 1874, and Oak Street was its commercial hub.
During the festival, merchants along the Oak Street commercial corridor open their doors for browsers and buyers alike, offering a wide variety of merchandise ranging from vintage books and jewelry, to works of art and unique apparel. Coffee shops and cozy little dining establishments offer their specialties, as well as VIP lounges.
Various local bands will play throughout the day on four stages. The 2018 lineup included George Porter Trio, Soul Brass Band, J and the Causeways, Funk Monkeys and Tap Dat. The Saints game was also streamed live! Check back for this year's lineup.
Admission is free, but a $5 wristband must be purchased to access the po-boy vendors. Wristbands can be purchased from the various booths at the festival. The festival is fun for the whole family! VIP wristbands are available and get you access to the VIP lounge, as well as a "fast pass" to cut the lines. VIP passes at $99, but you can purchase just a a fast pass for $20.
The festival is not only pedestrian-friendly, it is also bike-friendly. Sufficient lock-up racks for bicycles are expected to be available by fest time. You can also take the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar to the Oak Street stop and back. The fare is only $1.25 each way (exact change required).