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Arthur Robinson, Known as “Mr. Okra,” Dies at 75

The singing produce vendor was a New Orleans fixture

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Josh Brasted

Arthur Robinson, known around New Orleans as Mr. Okra, died on Thursday evening, according to The Advocate. He died from natural causes in his home, according to his stepson; he was 75.

Robinson, with his brightly painted Ford F-150 truck and amplified song announcing his presence (and bounty), was a fixture in New Orleans, and one of the only remaining mobile produce vendors in the city. Robinson’s slinging of fresh fruits and vegetables was a reminder of a different era in New Orleans, where everything was sold door-to-door. Robinson’s father was the first Mr. Okra. Arthur took up the title full-time about 30 years ago.

Robinson’s work was well-documented — he was the subject of a short documentary, a children’s book and even an In Your Pocket keychain, which had a recording of Robinson saying his signature refrain. Last year, Southern Living named Robinson one of the top Southerners of 2017.

Liz Williams, President of the National Food & Beverage Foundation, will remember Robinson as a bridge between the city’s historic street vendors, with their “enticing and familiar singing cries,” and today’s modern mix of street vendors, public address systems, and motor vehicles. “Losing him means the close of an era,” she told Eater via email.

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