Po-Boy Festival expands to meet the demands of po-boy lovers
Posted by Judy Walker, Food Editor, The Times-Picayune
<http://blog.nola.com/judywalker/about.html> November 21, 2008
Categories: Festivals <http://blog.nola.com/judywalker/festivals/>, Top News <http://blog.nola.com/judywalker/top_news/>
Ellis Lucia / The Times-Picayune
Parkway Bakery will be selling their roastbeef po-boys.
If you went to the first New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival <http://www.poboyfest.com/> last year on Oak Street, you witnessed the rapid depletion of food, fest T-shirts and artists' wares -- and the human gridlock when 10,000 people jammed into three blocks.
"It was yikes!" said Jim Elliott, chairman of the Po-Boy Preservation Festival and Oak Street Association president.
As soon as the festival closed last year, Elliott said, the association, which promotes the historic street's revitalization, began working to make this year's event bigger -- expanded to five blocks, plus the side streets -- and better.
"The buzz for the festival has not stopped since last year, " he said. "We started getting requests from people to participate the minute it was over."
"The leader of Papa Grows Funk, John Gros, last year said 'Put me down for next year. I've got to close next year again.' "
And so they will.
Eliot Kamenitz / The Times-Picayune Archive
Last year's New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival drew thousands, and organizers promise better organization, a larger space and lots more food this Sunday, Nov. 23.
Amanda Shaw will play, and the Iguanas will return, as will Los Poboycitos.
The number of artists selling their wares has likewise expanded, from fewer than 30 to more than 60.
As for the signature festival food: "We have 30 vendors" as opposed to last year's 14, "and this year, all the vendors are doing $2 or $3 samples, so you can have a little of this and a little of that, " Elliott said. "It won't break anybody's pocketbook."
Other big differences: Food stands will be on one side of the street, with horizontal approach lines defined by barriers, so those waiting to buy a po-boy won't clog the main thoroughfare.
Elliott emphasized that vendors were told that they must be prepared to serve 15,000 people. New vendors include Mahoney's, which is selling a Peacemaker po-boy (with fried oysters, bacon and cheddar); New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival favorite Vaucresson Sausage; the New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co.; and Squeal Barbecue, which just opened on Oak Street.
Ted Jackson / The Times-Picayune ArchiveAmanda Shaw
*PO-BOY FESTIVAL MUSIC*
Noon-1:15 p.m.: Andy J. Forest
1:30-2:45 p.m.: Los Poboycitos
3-4:15 p.m.: Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys
4:30-6 p.m.: The Iguanas
Noon-1:30 p.m.: David Batiste & The Gladiators
1:45-3 p.m.: Rebirth Brass Band
3:15-4:30 p.m.: Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Road Masters
4:45-6 p.m.: Papa Grows Funk
Once satiated with a po-boy, festival-goers can learn about the indigenous sandwich and the street they are on during panel discussions led by University of New Orleans History Department faculty and students.
The festival's 2008 theme is "Oak Street in the Time of Po-Boys, " said Michael Mizell-Nelson, UNO assistant professor of history. A group of graduate students are working on a long-term project to document the early history of businesses and families on Oak Street in the 1920s and '30s.
"Because (Oak Street) was on the edge of Orleans (Parish), it was drawing from Jefferson Parish in the early period, when truck farmers from Jefferson would come in and the West Bank residents would take the 7th District Ferry across to Oak Street, " he said. "Then, later, once the casinos and gambling clubs developed on the other side of the protection levee in Jefferson, there was even more activity."
Students and faculty have been gathering locals' stories and historical information, Mizell-Nelson said.
"We're getting some fascinating tidbits, " he said. "We need to make sure these things aren't lost, so this is a long-term process.
"I'm hoping for lots of audience participation, more stories, " he said.
. . . . . . .
/Food editor Judy Walker can be reached at 504.826.3485 or email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>./
*NEW ORLEANS PO-BOY PRESERVATION FESTIVAL*
*What:* A free street festival celebrating the po-boy, with 30 food vendors, 60 artists, expert panels and two music stages.
*Where:* Oak Street, between South Carrollton Avenue and Leonidas Street.
*When:* Sunday, Nov. 23, noon to 6 p.m.
*Information:* For a list of vendors, see www.poboyfest.com.
*PO-BOY FEST PANELS*
University of New Orleans faculty and students will lead discussions on the history of po-boys and Oak Street at 8118 Oak St. Festival-goers are invited to contribute memories.
11 a.m. -- *"An Illustrated History of Oak Street"* -- UNO grad students present stories by merchants and residents.
Noon -- *"Swimming & Drowning in the River and Canals"* -- Graduate student Christina Offutt presents accounts from the early 1900s of people who swam or attempted to swim in the Mississippi River, including accounts of a swim team that practiced in the river at Louisiana Avenue.
1 p.m. -- *"Muffuletta: The Poor Boy's Italian Cousin"* -- Culinary historian/baker Dana Logsdon leads a panel featuring Sal Logiudice of United Bakery and Angelo Brocato of Angelo Brocato's Italian Ice Cream & Pastries.
2 p.m. -- *"Flood Sufferers"* -- Graduate student Liz Havrilla explores the lives of survivors of the 1927 flood and Hurricane Katrina.
3 p.m. -- *"Lost Poor Boy Shops: Clarence and Lefty's"* -- Michael Mizell-Nelson, assistant professor of history, moderates a panel with Richard H. Collin, former "Underground Gourmet"; artist and culinary historian Bunny Matthews; and D. Erik Bookhardt, Gambit Weekly art critic.