Amid Confusion, Oak Street Is Ready for Po Boy Fest


It’s that time of year again! The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival is upon us, bigger than ever before. Over 30,000 people are expected to attend the event that has 35 vendors, offering more than 60 different kinds of po-boys, and plenty of other foods to try, as well. Everyone from sushi restaurant Ninja to Oceana Grill, Parkway Bakery, and Original New Orleans Po-boys will be serving it up at the Fest.

Music from popular original funk band In Business will be there, along with at least ten other bands, including Strange Roux, Mikey B3, and Funk Monkey with Arsene Delay.

While Jared Zeller has previously worked for the festival for two years as a self-described “hired gun,” this year his company, the Choupic Group, is producing it for the first time. “It started as a few blocks on Oak Street, and it has exploded to about an eight-block stretch between Carrolton and Eagle Street.”

At the end of Eagle Street, near Euphorbia Kava Bar, there will be a block party.

Zeller is a man who wears many hats: selling real estate, being involved in various shows, including some on the Discovery Channel and HBO. “(The Festival) has been taking place for 12 years. By Oak Street Main Street Association, who had to figure out a way to raise some matching funds for a Main Street Grant, to do some improvements on Oak Street, and some genius folks came up with the idea of a po-boy festival. And why didn’t I think of that?

“Logistically, this festival is really difficult to pull off.”

Speaking to the concerns of people who feared their businesses might not be included, Zeller responded:

“We were trying to figure out some ways to cut some costs. We were trying to program one less block to see if that would help. So one thing we heard; the 800 block of Oak Street, it was closed last year. And the cops, quite frankly, told us we had to, it was a problem with traffic. We decided to put a stage at Monroe. And I think some neighbors were upset about it, so you know we repositioned the stage. Lots of things are changing all the time with this thing. You know people have great ideas, and then reality, then better ideas. The stage is actually going where I originally wanted it. I just want people to experience a great main street and eat some po-boys, drink some beers. We’ve launched a po-boy lager, something I’ve wanted to do for a while, launch a beer in relationship with the festival. I finally convinced a brewery to do it, so we’re gonna have a po-boy lager by Urban South Brewery. I actually had a couple of those Friday night…”

Just a few exciting examples of the po-boys that will be available, include:

  • Voleos Seafood’s Lobster Po-Boy
  • Nola Boils & Catering’s Escargot Po-Boy
  • Mahoney’s Po-Boys and Seafood’s Duck Duck Goose Po-Boy
  • Blessed Sacrament St. Joan Of Arc Catholic Church’s Eggplant Parmesan Po-Boy

The festival begins at 10:00 a.m. and lasts until 6:00 p.m., starting at the corner of Carrolton and Oak Street.

Regular wristbands are $5, but you can get the $99 wristband and all the Urban South beer you can drink at the Mellow Mushroom.

Enjoy the bands, shop at local businesses, eat some great food. Come and pass a good time – I’ll see you there!

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