While other parts of the country may have “submarine sandwiches” or “hoagies,” in New Orleans, our sandwich of choice is called a “po-boy.” And, like many other uniquely New Orleans and Louisiana creations, there is a festival to celebrate it.
Sunday, October 23 will mark the 10th Annual Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, held along a commercial strip of Oak Street in the city's Carrollton neighborhood Uptown. The festival is open to the public, family friendly and FREE to attend.
This one-day-only event goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and features live music, arts, handicrafts and – of course – booths offering many different types of po-boys.
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.
Festival organizers bill the event as an effort to "re-create that warm feeling of this small-town Main Street," while displaying the extensive infrastructural improvements that have been made to the street in recent years. Thanks to these improvements, Oak Street has regained much of its earlier volume of commerce and prestige. With its early 20th century storefronts and facades, much of Oak Street retains its small-town ambience.
Fried shrimp, oysters and catfish, along with ham and cheese, and roast beef are obvious fan favorites. But, there are many other creative and unique choices as well, like the fried lobster from GW Fins or the Seafood-Au-Gratin Po-Boy from Seither’s Seafood. You can order them "dressed" with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mayo or "naked" without the condiments. Either way they are yummy!
For an updated list of po-boy providers, check back with the festival’s website closer to date.
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.
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.
The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival is fun for the whole family, with plenty of things for the kids to do as well. It is free and open to the public and is easily accessible from the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans. Hop in a cab or take the colorful and historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar to the Oak Street stop and back. The fare is only $1.25 each way (exact change required). Browse the festival’s “Getting There” page to learn more about transportation.
For more information call (504) 524-8843 or check out the festival's website at www.poboyfest.com.
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