The Great Poor Boy Debate


Cartoonist and artist Bunny Matthews, radio personality and food writer Tom Fitzmorris, and Vance Vaucresson of Vaucresson's Sausage Company engage in a lively debate regarding the proper way to order New Orleans' favorite sandwich: Po-Boy or Poor Boy.

Bunny Matthews, best known for creating the "Vic and Nat'ly" cartoon, published a groundbreaking history of the po-boy in 1981 in the Times-Picayune and launched the first (but short-lived) po-boy festival decades before the current Po-Boy Festival debuted in 2007. Tom Fitzmorris hosts "The Food Show" on 1350AM and authors restaurant reviews for New Orleans CityBusiness. Fitzmorris also has published several books regarding New Orleans food culture. Vance Vaucresson's family has operated the city's best known sausage company since 1899. The Vaucressons sell various sausage po-boys during Po-Boy Fest and other festivals. The accompanying photographs capture other great moments in Po-Boy Fest history.

These video excerpts were recorded during the first history panel discussion held as part of the inaugural Po-Boy Festival in 2007. The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities funded the History Center activities. Since 2011, the Po-Boy Fest History Center has been located at Squeal Bar-B-Q at 8400 Oak Street.

Video Show

Po-Boy/Poor Boy Debate

Photos Show

Big Shirley's Restaurant, Carrollton, 2009

Their South Carrollton Avenue location featured an editorial comment. Big Shirley's Restaurant is now located on Elysian Fields Avenue in Gentilly.

French Bread Panel Discussion, 2007

John Gendusa (left) of John Gendusa Bakery and Sandy Whann (center) of Leidenheimer Baking Company discuss New Orleans-style French bread in a panel moderated by baker and historian Dana Logsdon. Both bakers represent two of the oldest and most significant bakeries in New Orleans, but Gendusa and Whann had never met one another beforehand.

Jason Gendusa, Golden Loaf Award Recipient, 2009

The Po-Boy Fest awarded 4th generation baker Jason Gendusa the Golden Loaf to honor him and his father, John Gendusa, for reopening their family's bakery following its destruction by post-Katrina levee failures.

John "Po-Boy" Gendusa takes on Jared "Limp-Loaf" Subpar

The first-ever French Bread fight took place on the Carrollton Music stage during the 2009 Po-Boy Fest.

Martin family members, 2007

Descendants of Clovis Martin, one of the two brothers who played essential roles in launching the po-boy sandwich name, gathered to share stories during the inaugural First Families of the Po-Boy session at the History Center.

"Bread Heads" Kids' Activity, 2010

Children made bread heads and then ate them during the 2010 Po-Boy Fest. Stale Pistoletes substituted for the traditional potato.

Best in Show, 2010 "Bread Head"

One of the most creative "bread heads" made during the 2010 Po-Boy Fest.

Cite this Page

Michael Mizell-Nelson and Kyle Willshire, “The Great Poor Boy Debate,” New Orleans Historical, accessed March 2, 2015, http:/​/​www.​neworleanshistorical.​org/​items/​show/​425.​
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