Twitter has a theory about Santa Claus — he might be a lot farther south than the North Pole.
The tweet that started it all came from an account dedicated to celebrating “everything NOLA.” It featured a photo of Santa, holding a baby as he does, and a caption: “If you’re from New Orleans 9/10 you got pic with this Santa.”
One look at the responses makes it obvious that the caption was not at all an exaggeration.
Thousands of people have shared and replied to the tweet — as scores of New Orleans natives are posting their pictures on the same Santa’s lap.
The New Orleans Santa’s real name is Fred Parker, but he’s better known to his community as Seventh Ward Santa, New Orleans Black Santa or Chocolate Santa.
According to The New Orleans Advocate, Parker has been Santa for 46 years.
Even before he was officially Santa, Parker was known for spreading Christmas cheer. NOLA.com reports that he was once a school bus driver who would treat a busload of kids to a meal at McDonald’s on the last day of school before Christmas break.
The Seventh Ward Santa has been around for so long that countless people who once posed with him as kids are now old enough to bring him their own children and even their grandchildren.
For those reminiscing on Twitter, it didn’t take long to notice a recurring theme: The famous New Orleans Santa doesn’t seem to age.
Here’s a photo from the 1980s — according to the caption, the child in the photo is now 30 years old.
This one is from 1998.
The photo in the original tweet is from 2013.
They might be on to something. (See more of the photos of the Seventh Ward Santa over the years by scrolling through the Twitter thread here.)