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The Okra Man: A Lost New Orleans Tradition

okraman new orleans

Last week I’m sitting at my desk and I hear this singing over a loudspeaker down the street. “We got fresh tamaytahs, fresh zucchini, fresh strawberries.” I knew what it was. It was the Okra Man! I’d seen the guy with his painted truck in the Faubourg Marigny a few months ago and seen an article done about him in some magazine somewhere. And here he was coming to an Uptown neighborhood like they used to do in the days of old.

My mom, born in 1914, says she remembers when women would come down the street with a basket on their heads selling fruits and veggies. And others coming down the street with a horse and cart selling stuff. Yes, they did this on our street when I was a kid, but I don’t remember it.

I do remember when the jazz funeral would come by with the hearse and the trumpets and trombones and the people walking slowly toward the cemetery a few blocks down from our house. That was a common occurrence. But I’ve not seen that for many years now. I don’t know why. The cemetery’s still there, people still pass on and we still have funerals. Maybe you need to get a permit now to do all that, and it’s just not worth it. Too bad.

Anyway, the Okra Man let me take a few photos and I bought some big zucchini and yellow squash and a giant tomato and some bananas from him. Just like we used to do in the days of old. We need more okra men to keep this ancient tradition going.

Please leave a comment. Tell me what you think!

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Food, New Orleans History, New Orleans Life.

One Response

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  1. Ventia says

    This recipe was the best! I love okra aand tmoetoas too but had never cooked okra. I love your use of words in describing how to put together the items in the recipe, i.e. rope’ and insanely ripe’. I will definitely make this again. My husband liked it a lot too! Thank you! 5 star!!!!!!!!!!!

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