NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hundreds filled the streets in the Bywater, to say good-bye to a long-time fixture in the New Orleans Community. He was a man who brought fresh fruits and vegetables to residents with charm and style. Mr. Okra died, Thursday, at the age of 74. Sunday, a second-line celebrated his life.
Those who knew him and many who did not poured into Dauphine Street to celebrate the life and legacy of Arthur J. Robinson, affectionately known as Mr. Okra.
"He was just a mild-mannered, beautiful man," said customer Chris Hunter.
Considered the last of his kind, Mr. Okra carried on a tradition long lost to grocery stores and modern-day markets.
"He used to come by my house all the time and I would buy avocados and satsumas, the occasional cabbage, watermelon," said customer April Herrera.
"On the day I came back from Katrina, that man came by my house so quickly and I was hungry for some cauliflower and he had cauliflower," recalled long-time customer Oliver Manhattan.
Yet, it wasn't just what he did, it was how he did it. His singsongy summons drew customers and created fans.
"He was a guy trying to make a living. He was a beautiful man and a beautiful character. He figured out his hustle. He had a good voice. He ran around and did his thing. He didn't care what anybody else thought," Manhattan said.
"He brought color and I don't know if people still use that word, pizzazz. If you can relate pizzazz with produce, he brought produce pizzazz. And his truck was so amazing and fantastic, just like him," Hunter said.
Now, according to our partners NOLA.com, the Times Picayune, Mr. Okra's truck will continue to roll, thanks to his daughter, Sergio Robinson.
"I'm really pleased she's carrying on the family tradition because he really does a lot of work carrying fresh produce into these food deserts and it's fantastic work Mr. Robinson did," said Herrera.
Mr. Okra will no longer peddle the streets of New Orleans but his legacy will live on.
"He's going to be sorely missed but we are truly blessed to have had Mr. Okra," said Hunter.