We all know New Orleanians can be somewhat snobbish about their golden child, the po-boy. But with Houston being just down the coast from the Crescent City, we wondered: can you still get a decent po-boy just a few hundred miles away? So we opened up our minds and stomachs and broke out our sweet Inspector Gadget coat to find out what constitutes a “good one,” and if Houston lives up to its predecessor.
What is a po-boy anyway?
To figure out why New Orleanians champion their sandwich as a storied rarity, let’s start with some history. The poor boy sandwich was invented in New Orleans by restaurateurs and brothers Bennie and Clovis Martin during the streetcar workers strike in 1929. Both former streetcar conductors, the duo empathized with the workers, so much so that they wrote them a letter telling them, "We are with you till hell freezes, and when it does, we will furnish blankets to keep you warm." In that very same letter, the Martins offered a free sandwich to those “poor boys.”
The cheap po-boys were already popular among the workers, but when the depression hit, those babies spread like Crystal-inflamed wildfire. And thus, NOLA’s beloved sandwich became part of the city’s delicious, delicious history.