New Orleans was once spotted with bakeries, but after Katrina just a handful came back and
|Street car set aflame during 1929 strike.|
“Our meal is free to any members of Division 194. We are with you till h--l freezes, and when it does, we will furnish blankets to keep you warm,” read one of the many letters the Martins wrote. When the Martins saw another striker head for their door, they'd remark "here comes another poor boy."
But how did Mr. Gendusa get involved? Well, the Martins were doing what they could to make a living -- after all, you can't just feed folks for free out of thin air -- so they offered large sandwiches to those hungry strikers. They were making those sandwiches on French loaves. Problem with French loaves? They taper at the ends, so if you use it to make one big sandwich to cut into smaller sandwiches for people, they're not all going to be uniform. And there'd be some waste. So they got together with John Gendusa and came up with a 40" long roll that was rectangular on both ends. And thus the poor boy was born.
|Jason and John Gendusa. John's grandfather (Jason's great-|
grandfather) was the original John Gendusa from Sicily.
Jason was kind enough to start us out with a taste, probably the wisest thing he could do, since I have known grown men grumble about gnawing off their own arms at scents less pure and appetizing.
The motion never ceased, not one minute of the nearly hour spent on the property.
And every time a cart was rolled out of the room-sized oven, a steamy haze filled the entire bakery.
experience and document the po'boys of the acclaimed Oak Street Po'Boy Preservation Festival. At the time, we were there for the numbers, and betwixt the two of us we managed to photograph some 80 loaf-
When our group emerged one by one, blinking in sunlight, the very light wind quickly cooled each of us. We made our way to the other places we really wished to visit before congregating for the start of our sessions with Southern Foodways.
For more information about John Gendusa Bakery, call (504) 283-2747 or check out the bakery's Facebook page. There's also a fascinating video and oral history
For more on the history of the New Orleans Poor Boy Sandwich, click here.
Check out some of the po'boys we experienced at the Oak Street Po'Boy Preservation Festival in 2011.
Heck, check them all out.
And for the longest oyster po'boy story... another adventure for Grav and I, click this link.
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If you're interested in New Orleans, you may like:
The New Orleans School of Cooking
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum
Kat's recommendations for dining New Orleans:
2 Sisters N 'Da East
Cafe du Monde (more locations than just the French Quarter!)
Court of Two Sisters
Ralph and Kacoo's