Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to include the correct listing link.
It’s a sad day for New Orleans culture. The Pepto Bismol pink icon that is Gene’s Po-Boys was listed for sale last week. The $5 million listing includes the building, business, and vacant lot.
Gene’s opened in 1968 and earned a name for itself serving up po-boys and frozen daiquiris. Over the years the local icon turned into a national one, with an appearance in The Simpsons and a Drake video, and guests like Beyonce and Jay-Z.
But like much of the city, the neighborhood around Gene’s is changing. Saint Claude has streetcar service now, which is bringing an influx of tourists to the neighborhood. The Schwegmann market has been replaced with a newer, fancier, Robert Fresh Market. A Starbucks has popped up a block over. The Beauty Supply on the next corner is up for sale and expected to close as well.
Of course, it is possible that the shop will continue on as it has been, with the new owners continuing the business. However, with a $5 million price tag, it’s likely that whoever buys the building will raise the prices, make changes and, as often happens, the locals who eat there will be disenfranchised and move on.
Those who have seen this happen time and time again in other areas of the city weren’t optimistic. Several who live in the area expressed concerns about getting priced out.
“It’s bad enough with the incredible beauty mart for sale,” one poster said, “but now this 50-year institution that is such a sweet little neighborhood landmark… it also makes me super fearful about getting priced out of the neighborhood… I can barely keep up now.”
If you’re looking for one of Gene’s iconic hot sausage po-boys or Booty Call daiquiris, you’d better grab them while you can.
Jenn Bentley’s work has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.