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 11th 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 this year’s vendors.
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 do larger venues like Jacques-Imo's Restaurant and the world-renowned Maple Leaf Bar, with its live music and large dance floor.
Various local bands will play throughout the day. Check back for the 2018 lineup.
Admission is free, but a $5 wristband must be purchased to access the po-boy vendors. Wristbands ban be purchased from the various booths at the festival operated by Son of a Saint. Son of a Saint is 2018’s non-profit partner and festival beneficiary. The festival is fun for the whole family!
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).