“Poor Boy,” Not “Po-Boy,” Part 2

Wisdom from Evangeline

Last month (our November issue) this column took on a losing cause defending why, with respect for historical accuracy, the native sandwich should be called “poor boy” and not “po-boy,” as bastardized in just about every menu in town.

As part of my rant I made this offer: “If any food service place that uses the proper name lets us know, we will gladly plug it in this space.”

Well, lo and behold, I heard from Eddie Bowdon, who, along with his wife, Jenifer Drake, has just opened a new restaurant in the French Quarter called Evangeline (329 Decatur St., 908-8008, EvangelineNola.com).

Here then is the promised plug as written by Bowdon: “A locavore concept, Evangeline specializes in fresh, seasonal items purchased directly from local farmers markets three times per week. The wild catfish poor boy, a house specialty, is caught, not farm raised, from Lac des Allemands in Lafourche Parish. The same care goes into the procurement of local shrimp and softshell crab.”

A scan of the menu also reveals a shrimp poor boy that, like the catfish version, is served with sweet potato fries.

Oh, and on the weekend brunch menu Bowden recommends, “the egg poor boy, normally paired with a spicy Bloody Mary or Pomegranate Mimosa.”

This edition looks at the Best of Dining, top selections around town as selected by our panel of food writers and editors. Evangeline was too new to be considered for this issue, nor have I tried it. I am just honoring a promise. I will say this – if the care for doing things right as reflected on the menu is also practiced in the kitchen this place is going to be a winner. Maybe the “poor boy” can survive.

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Reader Comments:
Dec 19, 2011 02:09 pm
 Posted by  Battla

I know the Tom Fizmorris claims that Martin Brothers "invented" the Poor boy sandwich - here is alternative history: I have a b&w photo from the early 1900's (before street car strike)of Battistella's Restaurant in the French Market which shows clearly that "poor boy" is the original usage - in our family's case the term derived not from a sandwich being offered to a streetcar striker, but to ho-bos, derelicks,and hangers-on at the point where the riverfront railroad tracks met the old French Market. The Times-Picayune said in its 175th anniversary article about the origins of poor-boy/po-boy sandwich that the term "poor boy" was never used before in that nespaper before 1935. In fact, I have a microfilm copy of a December 25, 1930 ad in the Times-Picayune of my great uncle Andrew Battistella's restaurant, which reads in part, "Originator of the Poor Boy Sandwich." When the restaurant was in operation behind the old Morning Call coffee shop, the sign hanging outside read Battistella's Restaurant, Originator of the Poor Boy Sandwich. Thought you might be interested on this 'take' on the sandwich's origins as well as 'proof' that poor boy was the original name. I have the photo! Walter Battistella II

May 10, 2012 04:16 pm
 Posted by  Chris L.

I actually have the menus from Battistella's Restaurant from the early 1900's that clearly show the name Poor Boy sandwich. My name is Chris Louviere and I am the great grandson of Andrew. This story is not a matter of question in our family but simply a matter of fact.

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