Monday, November 15, 2010

Salvaged wood makes earthy art

My college friend Ellen, who now lives in Houston, insisted I track down a local artist at the Po-Boy Preservation Festival.

There were probably a half-million people on Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood on Sunday afternoon with long lines waiting to order Bourbon BBQ shrimp, pulled pork, smoked portobello, garlic shrimp, shrimp remoulade and pork debris po-boys, among other variations. Judging from the size of the crowd, I don't think the po-boy is in any danger of extinction, at least not in New Orleans.

I noticed by 4 o'clock, the hot sausage was already sold out, so that must have been awfully tasty. For those who may not know, a po-boy is like a Subway sandwich, but not. Calories be damned! They're all "dressed," which means lots of sloppy toppings and drippy sauce.

Leidenheimer Baking Co. - "Good to the Last Crumb" - is famous for its po-boy bread, which it has made since 1896. According to Leidenheimer's Web site, the name po-boy originated during a streetcar conductors' strike in the 1920s when a sandwich shop near the French Market fed conductors for free, shouting "Here comes another po-boy," when a striking conductor entered the shop.

I finally located the Artists' Village across from Jacques-Imo's Cafe and found Barbara Roberds right away. I'd already bought a small item from her myself at the Arts Market. Ellen wanted a wooden street sign for a Christmas gift. Barbara makes stuff from old wood - door and window frames - and also photographs old buildings. I decided to go ahead and buy a light switchplate I'd previously admired that features the Saturn Bar (see Nov. 6 posting about hip bars), which suits my decor a little better than the Ramos Pinto dancing girls I've got on the living room wall now.

New Orleans' original street names are spelled out in blue lettered tile embedded in the sidewalk.

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