It didn't take long to figure out that this sandwich is a key New Orleans tradition -- one of those things where your visit to the city doesn't count unless you try one. Yet there wasn't much competition -- the leading supplier is the Central Grocery Company, a quirky old Italian deli deep in the French Quarter.
There were serious warnings in books about not attempting to eat a whole one. The fancy Italian ham, salami, and cheeses are not the problem -- it's the herb-filled olive salad spread swimming in oil that's the killer. You can see the oil drenching the Italian bread here. It is best to wear old clothes when eating one of these and bathe afterwards.
Heeding these stern warnings, we always split half a sandwich, each eating just a quarter such as you see here. But we abandoned all caution by eating them for breakfast several times, yet still survived.