This weekend was the 3rd annual New Orleans Po-Boy Festival.Over 20,000 people converged on the small neighborhood in Uptown New Orleans known as Old Carrollton.The neighborhood is nestled into a section known as the Riverbend and is primarily residential with a small commercial corridor and a "Main Street"by the name of Oak Street. The commercial side of Oak Street runs 6 blocks from the main avenue,South Carrollton all the way down to the Mississippi River.The festival was held on these six blocks and a few side streets off of Oak sported some small Arts and Crafts booths.
The festival began three years ago as a means for Oak Street merchants to raise some money for long overdue street repairs. It was a huge success and was repeated last year with even more success. This year more vendors joined in and from 11a.m. to 6p.m.,the crowds came to eat,hear music,shop for local arts and crafts and have fun. The festival is named for the sandwich invented here in New Orleans,called the Po-Boy as it was concocted for the working man,and has taken on several variations over the years. Yesterday,there were 40 different food vendors serving up their culinary creations.
I went out early Saturday evening to scope out the preparations. The festival is in my immediate neighborhood,literally steps away from my house. To get a general idea of what Oak Street looks like on a relatively normal Saturday evening before 20,000 people converged on it the next day:
Think I'll head back,it's getting a little too crowded for me. On the way of course I'll scope out what else they have around. I see my dear friends are having a gathering at their house,some musicians and performers,oh,and a great chef...
it's Couchon Sauce Piquant,(Pork in a spicy sauce served over green onion rice!)
my friend and his daughter (also,the chef)
my last stop,check in with the guys at EMS.Any action today? No,quiet day on the ambulance front.
Sorry Lagatta,I was in the middle of trying to sort these pics out when you posted. The French bread used for the Po-Boys is what you see in the pics. One local bakery,Leidenheimer is a sponsor and many, but not all, are served up on their bread,which is very good. The other bakery I like better,Binder's,was also represented. As for the street work,yes,the city of New Orleans does major overhauls but after Katrina the merchants wanted to spruce it up without having to wait forever. This area took no major damage,but was rather scruffy.
WOW! What a day! And what a post!! It was so much like being there - I could smell the great smells, feel the excitement of the crowd, hear the music - I felt I was immersed in a one of a kind event that could happen nowhere else but New Orleans. And there's some serious food porn here - those oysters (the fried AND the charred)! those sausages! and that spicy pork!!! Thank you SO much for sharing this! I have to go to this one day
This is utterly lovely. Quite the althetic eating feat - thinking that it will be American Thanksgiving in a week and Christmas a month from now. Lovely food and lovely people - I love your chef friend and his beautiful little daughter, and the EMS guys. No heart attacks to tackle after all that FOOD?
Yes I figured that regular freshening up of streets would be a low priority after Katrina, and like the pride people obviously take in their neighbourhood as well as their gastronomic heritage. I want those oysters, and the spicy shrimp boil.
Is the chef friend's outfit something that would be worn in a Carneval "Band"? (I don't know if that is what they are called in NOLA Mardi Gras - am thinking more of the Caribbean) - that is the people who work all year on beautiful adornments and finery for the parade?
My friend in the costume with all it's finery is a member of one of the many tribes of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians,whose traditions and roots go back to the 1700's.All year long they work on their costumes with beads hand sewn(by the men,never the women),never the same costume or color for that matter worn more then once.They parade in the wee wee hours on Mardi Gras morning all over neighborhoods,far from the traditional,conservative predominately white Mardi Gras Krewe organizations on Saint Charles Avenue.They also gather during other times during the year,Saint joseph's Day and some other lesser known holidays. For a well written,brief history go here:www.mardigrasdigest.com/Sec_mgind/history.htm
Is it the same date every year? (Just checking my busy schedule for 2010.)
The last 3 have been on the Sunday before our Thanksgiving. I believe it has to be then because of all the other events around town,then the holidays running all the way through to Mardi Gras,then Jazz Fest. Plus,it's always great,great weather.
Oh Casimira - I have only just found this wonderful thread. I have enjoyed it so much. It has felt like I'm there with you walking around the town. Nobody seems to mind you taking photographs. They're all smiling! (very unlike what I find in England)... everyone is having a good time and feasting. I'd love to taste those oysters and everything else too. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us.
Thanks guys! It was fun! People in New Orleans LOVE to have their picture taken and are accustomed to as we have quite a few tourists. And,we are proud of our city. To think that this festival was conceived one year after Katrina is mind boggling. People thronged to Oak Street to celebrate their food heritage and do what they know how to do best,eat,dance and be merry. In answer to your question HW about "locals". Yes,I think it is largely a locals event but this year I believe there were many more tourists. This is heavy tourist season and the PR was big for this. I think probably more then anything,locals had guests and brought them.
One huge oversight I realized is the way in which Po-Boys are traditionally served. The addition of lettuce,tomatoes,pickles and mayonnaise is the norm and is referred to as "dressed". One can also request onions,pickles,or mustard (yellow and the local brown "Creole"). Another popular condiment is Crystal hot sauce,somehow more popular then the traditional tabasco also regional.