Dear Julia and Poydras,
Someone once told me that there was a chicken business in New Orleans where the owner claimed to have once eaten an entire chicken in three minutes. Is that true? Was he connected to Popeye’s? – Sam Fitzwilliams, Jr. (Marrero, La.)
Well, it is partially true, Sam. The person in question was named Buck Fulford. His actual accomplishment was even more stunning than what you heard. He was immortalized in “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” for having once killed, picked, cooked and eaten an entire chicken in one minute and fifty seconds.
Since Ripley’s tries to verify what makes its lists, we can assume that this was true. Unfortunately for New Orleans’ place in history, the fast feast did not happen here but in Port Arthur, Texas. However, the incident is relevant to New Orleans because Buck would open several Buck’s Famous Fried Chicken outlets throughout the city. The most famous was in the French Quarter at 819 Decatur St. A sign outside the store advertised Buck’s culinary accomplishment. The sign always received lots of attention from those who were walking by. According to a 1943 ad, a single order of chicken sold for 45 cents; a family order of four was $1.55. Fries were 15 cent extra. According to the website “Signs of New Orleans,” Buck died in 1974. His last store had been sold in 1971.
In 1986 Gene Bourg, a food writer for The Times-Picayune, included Fulford’s place in an article about defunct New Orleans eateries. He described Buck’s as “a sort of Paleolithic Popeye’s.” When it came to fast food, Buck Fulford was certainly high in the pecking order.
STUMPED BY A PARROT
For a bonus round this month, Poydras would like to ask you, the reader, a question. If you know the answer send it to Poydras at Julia@myneworleans.com. Use the subject line STUMPED BY A PARROT. Those with the correct answer will be acknowledged and will win Poydras’ gratitude.
Al Copeland once explained that he named Popeye’s Fried Chicken after a character in a movie. Who was the character and what was the name of the movie? Please send in your answer before midnight tonight.
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