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  • Writer's pictureJohn Ashouri

"Here comes another poor boy!"

No one will argue that some of the most delicious foods come out of Louisiana.

It is at the core of our identity and most of us came out of the womb eating gumbo. The people of Louisiana have blessed us with so many delicious dishes full of depth and amazing flavors.

Yet one Louisiana dish is simple, and that's the humble Po’Boy.

There is a rich history behind the Po' Boy: For the uninitiated, a poor boy (aka po-boy, po' boy, or po boy) is a sandwich that uses a six-inch or foot-long baguette-style bread that is more commonly known as French bread.

Traditionally, Po'Boys are filled with either roast beef or fried seafood (oysters, shrimp, crab, what have you) and topped with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. A sandwich with fried oysters and French bread has been a staple in New Orleans since the late 1800s.

Over the years, a lot of different legends have attached themselves to the sandwich, so it is difficult to determine when the term Po'Boy started.

According to most locals, the Martin brothers are the most common source of understanding for the term Po'Boy. Bennie and Clovis Martin opened their first coffee shop in New Orleans' historic French Market in 1922 after quitting their jobs as streetcar conductors. Although the shop was small, the location was prime in the French Quarter, and the brothers did a brisk business.

Po-boys were not called this until 1929, when the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, Division No. 192 embarked on a nearly four-month strike, which left more than a thousand union streetcar workers without a paycheck. They offered free meals to Division 194 members in a letter they sent to one of the local papers to show their support for these workers.

Whenever one of the union workers walked into the restaurant, the brothers would shout, "Here comes another poor boy!" Eventually, the name "poor boy" was associated with the sandwich itself since these workers often received a free meal that included a sandwich. Lee Esther's Po'Boys: While Po’Boys originated in New Orleans and continue to be popular there, you can enjoy them right here in your own backyard. With a choice of blackened fish, fried shrimp, or a hot link, each Po'Boy is handmade to order and served with our house-made Creole marmalade, shredded lettuce, and tomato slices.

We even have Chef Mike's original Po'Boy — packed with Cajun chicken and shrimp in a savory garlic shrimp sauce. When we asked him to describe it, he said it was "absolutely delicious". It will feel as if you just stepped off the plane and into the French Quarter when combined with boudin balls and our famous sweet tea.

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