Chocolate Santa (Fred Parker) has been taking photos with children in New Orleans for 46 years.
Twitter Screenshot

Long before African-American Santa appeared at the Mall of America, there was ‚ÄúChocolate Santa.‚ÄĚ And chances are if you are black and from New Orleans, you‚Äôve trekked to the 7th Ward and taken a photo with him.

Born Fred Parker, black Santa drove a school bus in New Orleans for years and was known for treating his entire busload of kids to a meal at a McDonald’s the last day of school before Christmas break. One year, a parent made him a Santa suit for the annual outing, and in 1971, Chocolate Santa officially made the scene.

Now, 46 years later, not much has changed (his face certainly hasn‚Äôt), except that now Santa rides around in a ‚Äúget along,‚ÄĚ or a scooter, for his knees instead of a sleigh.

Another cool fact: There‚Äôs nothing fake about this Santa‚ÄĒincluding his white beard, long hair and big belly. Initially he was clean shaven, and then he had to whiten his beard, but after all these years, it‚Äôs all real. And so is his sincerity.

Advertisement

‚ÄúI love bringing joy to the people,‚ÄĚ says Parker. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs my job.‚ÄĚ

One Twitter user (@504reminisce) compiled photos of those who took flicks with Chocolate Santa. Take a walk down memory lane:

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Merry Christmas!

For more of black Twitter, check out The Chatterati on The Root and follow The Chatterati on Twitter.