Good read: Times-Pic’s poboy history probe

The popular story tells of a pair of brothers who fed striking streetcar workers they referred to as "poor boys" in the late 1920s. Popular doesn't necessarily mean historically accurate.

Pop's Poboys in Lafayette has elevated its namesake cuisine.

In a story in Sunday's Times-Picayune, Senior Editor James Karst leads with an intriguing question: "What if the real history of the po-boy is far more complex than we have been led to believe, lost for a half-century, a secret tied up in race, class, sex and the hazy early years of jazz in New Orleans, and with Louis Armstrong somehow at the center of it all?"

C'est what?

Karst's story suggests that the popular tale of the Martin brothers feeding the "poor boys" on strike from the streetcar line might be just that — popular — but inaccurate, or at least incomplete. He details other references to what we now call poboys going back decades and involving, fancifully, Louis Armstrong and fellow jazz pioneer Sidney Bechet.

The story is titled "If po-boys were invented in 1929, how was Louis Armstrong eating them a decade earlier?" and it's a good read.