On Sunday, February 25, a second line will be held in honor of beloved New Orleans icon Mr. Okra, who passed away earlier this month. Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson was a local celebrity loved by many, a street vendor famous for the colorful pick-up truck he drove around town in and his signature cries through the loudspeaker announcing the fruits and vegetables he had for sale. Mr. Okra’s passing has touched hearts beyond New Orleans city limits. On February 19, the New York Times published an obituary remembering the iconic vendor, recalling his unique way of selling produce: “In neighborhoods rich and poor alike, you could hear the rising melody some minutes before Mr. Okra’s truck appeared: “I have ooooranges and bananas! I have eeeeeating pears and apples!” He is also the subject of a children’s book, Mr. Okra Sells Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, and the focal point of a 2009 documentary, “Mr. Okra.”
Preceding the second line, a visitation will be held at Marigny Opera House from 1 to 2:45 p.m. The second line in his honor will be arranged by the Preservation Hall Foundation, led by Kinfolk Brass Band and Daryl “Dancing Man” Young. The route will begin at 3 p.m. at the Marigny Opera House and make its way to BJ’s Lounge at 4301 Burgundy Street. At BJ’s Lounge, the Robinson family will hold a funeral reception open to the public.
According to the Advocate, Robinson’s death was confirmed by stepson Teddy Stansberry, who said he died at home of natural causes. As a street vendor, Robinson hawked his goods while singing, alerting folks to the fruits and vegetables he had available. In 2016, 60 Second Docs made a documentary about him, which you can see below.
OffBeat extends its condolences to the Robinson family. We’ll miss you, Mr. Okra!