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Mr. Okra: New Orleans Food Truck Icon Dies at 75

Update since blog was 1st posted.

Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson, New Orleans’ singing produce vendor, dies at 75

The beloved produce vendor was known across the city for his iconic truck and booming voice, which would advertise his fruits and vegetables for sale.

His stepson, Teddy Stansberry, confirmed Robinson’s death to The New Orleans Advocate. News of Mr. Okra’s death had spread on social media in the hours after his passing. He had been in failing health for some time and friends started a fundraising campaign to help him and pay for repairs to his iconic truck, which featured lettering by folk artist Dr. Bob and was a common sight on the city’s streets.

 

wp-image-234518600People all over town know New Orleans native Arthur Robinson as Mr. Okra — or sometimes just Okra — his trade name as a roving produce vendor who patrols the streets in a pickup truck packed with fruits and vegetables and painted with renderings of his inventory. His voice — a deep, bullfrog baritone — bellows from the truck-mounted P.A. system, announcing his inventory and its goodness. His banter has been featured on numerous albums by local bands, he’s a regular vendor at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and he was the subject of the 2009 documentary Mr. Okra. [source: New Orleans Gambit]

Mr. Okra appeared on the November 2012 episode of The Goodnight Show!

wp-image-1942397702.wp-image-1494553510.wp-image-609875345Mr. Okra needs our help.

He had some recent health issues that kept him from working. Not working has caused him to get behind on truck maintenance and repairs. Now he’s trying to play catch up. Business has been slow, on top of all the other issues he is facing, and he would never ask for any help. I spoke with him this morning and felt like he was asking but not asking for help.

I really want to help him get his business back up and running, by either repairing his current truck or helping him to get a new one. I’ve decided to see how many people feel the same way I do.

I have setup a GoFundMe site for him. In the past, many people have done videos and used photos and made tshirts etc, and everytime he gets very little of the money. This time every penny is going straight to his personal checking account. Whatever you can do will certainly bring us one step closer to making his dreams a reality. He never gives up, so lets not give up on him! Let us show him how much we really do love him.

https://www.gofundme.com/HelpMrOkra

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Native of New Orleans, who endured 20yrs cruel Minnesota Cold, I decided at 42yrs old it was time to pack up my then 6yr old and come back to my roots. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a preterm 2lb baby girl born with a disability. With the help of my mother who had her own struggles. We survived the obstacles laid before us. I'm the proud mother of three children with two failed adoptions, as well as a grandmother of three, two grandsons and a granddaughter. I survived two abusive marriages. I successfully ran a soulfood restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I started creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul.  He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute.  I put my all into my cake business over the years as House of Cakes was started right out of my house in honor of him. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, foster/adoptive mother at that, being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me in a sense; but most of it poisoned my heart and soul. I had a broken heart and I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home,  myself, my New Orleans. I'm here and I'm loving it. Even being in the so called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up! I'm down in the boot, but I know I have a nice floppy hat awaiting my destiny...

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