It is the end of an era in New Orleans as the last singing produce vendor, Mr. Okra, has passed away. Arthur Robinson was better known as Mr. Okra, a man who drove his produce-laden truck through the streets and sang his wares through a microphone/bullhorn system. The simplicity of his song was instantly recognizable and excitement-inducing as neighborhood residents raced outside to purchase produce. Mr. Okra was also a welcome addition to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in recent years, sitting by his truck in the food area and selling bananas, apples, and more to hot and hungry festival goers.
He passed away at the age of 75 on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at his home. "There ain't no joy like a 9th Ward boy," as it said on his truck. Mr. Okra played an integral part in city after Hurricane Katrina, bringing fresh food to neighborhoods without options.
A walk-through funeral will be held at the Marigny Opera House (725 St. Ferdinand) on Sunday, February 25 from 1-3p. The Official Second Line For Arthur "Mr. Okra" Robinson will be held Sunday, February 25 at 3p following the funeral. Doors at the Marigny Opera House will close at 2:40p. The family, the band, and the police will escort the second line from the Marigny Opera House to BJ’s Lounge (4301 Burgundy St.) for the repass. Preservation Hall Foundation is in charge of the Second Line which will be led by Kinfolk Brass Band & Darryl "Dancing Man 504" Young. Route starts on Dauphine side of Marigny Opera House. Dauphine to Lesseps. Turn left onto Lesseps and end at BJ’s Lounge (4301 Burgundy St.)
Mr. Okra was featured in a Morning 40 Federation music video in 2009, as well as being the topic of a Bonerama song. Check those videos out below, plus our photos of Mr. Okra through the years.