The line to try the boudin ball with praline bacon po-boy from The French Press was 25 deep all afternoon at Lafayette’s inaugural Acadiana Po-Boy Festival.
Not that French Press chef and owner Justin Girouard had much time to look up to see it. He had his hands full in the makeshift tent kitchen frying boudin balls and making po-boys to serve to some of the more than 2,000 people who attended the festival.
He could barely keep up with the demand
“It is one of our newer items, and I thought we could serve it here and give it some exposure,” Girouard said. “Everyone seems to love it, and I think this line is so long because people are talking about it. Some adventurous people tried it, and now they’re telling their friends.”
Gus Rezende, owner of Jefferson Street Pub and an organizer of the festival, said the turnout was higher than expected for an inaugural event. Rezende said business owners in downtown Lafayette formulated the idea to celebrate the po-boy.
“Everyone and everything has a festival,” Rezende said, “But there isn’t one for po-boys. We just wanted to celebrate the legacy of the po-boy, and so this festival came together. We are breaking the record for the longest po-boy, and we want to have a good time.”
The previous record po-boy, set in New Orleans, was 340 feet.
The longest po-boy was being displayed behind the stage at Parc Sans Souci and stretched from Congress Street to Vermilion Street. Ashley Theriot said the record po-boy was impressive, but having the ability to choose between so many vendors’ po-boys was overwhelming.
“Some of my favorite restaurants are here,” Theriot said. “Pop’s, Bread & Circus, Dean-O’s. I had the bacon cheeseburger pizza po-boy from Dean-O’s and the hot-hot from Pop’s. It’s great to mix and match like that — makes for a pretty eventful lunch.”
Portions of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization.
Rezende said the vendor selection was open to any restaurant — not just po-boy-specific eateries. In the future, Rezende said he thinks a more detailed approach will be used to select vendors.
Regardless of the vendor selection process, The French Press is sure to return. Girouard said the turnout was incredible and being able to support the community mere feet from his restaurant makes sense.
“I think Lafayette deserves this, and with all these good po-boys, we are happy to be a part of it,” Girouard said. “I knew this would be a success. Why would I not want to be associated with something so successful? It’s a no-brainer.”