At long last, a little chicken-fried class may be coming to roost in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Some descendants of Popeyes Chicken founder Al Copeland are hoping to commission a tasteful memorial statue of their patriarch in a local park in Metairie, Louisiana. That's "tasteful" not as in "The national World War II memorial is understated and tasteful," but as in "Mmm, this Popeyes Bonafide® fried chicken sure is taste-ful and also featured in this garish memorial statue."
According to the Times-Picayune, the family's original proposal stated that the statue would be life-sized. It would feature Copeland holding a box of Popeyes Chicken. And a checkered racing flag. He would be standing in front of a speedboat. On top of a wishing well. On top of a pedestal. Surrounded by columns arranged in the style of an ancient Roman plaza.
Lafreniere Park Advisory Board Chairman Ginger Crawford described the overall effect, captured by a concept artist in the illustration above (larger here), as “almost a Roman forum-type setting.” Imagine: Christians fighting lions for a piece of golden Popeyes chicken, marinated in Louisiana seasonings, then breaded in Popeyes uniquely Southern crispy coating. (Also, a speedboat.) For reasons unknown, the Lafreniere Park Board felt that the decadence and glamor of ancient Rome (plus speedboat) was “not in keeping with being complementary to the park and its master plan.”
They suggested another memorial idea: a labyrinth sponsored by the Copeland family in the park’s elegant parterre.
Al Copeland, Jr., the son and namesake of that great man whose proposed box of stone-rendered chicken parts would not lose their crunchiness for a hundred, a thousand years, “didn’t feel that reflected his father’s personality,” said Ginger Crawford. Maybe a labyrinth with a life-sized statue of fried chicken kingpin Al Copeland at its heart, standing in front of a speedboat, on a wishing well, clutching a box of Popeyes chicken and a checkered racing flag, in the center of a Roman Forum-type structure. And maybe they could get rid of the labyrinth part, so that the statue and Roman column structure would be easier to get to and see. That sounds more in keeping with Copeland's famously loud personality, which manifested itself as million-bulb Christmas light displays and public feuds with the novelist Anne Rice.
So the park Board moved on to plan C: perhaps the Copeland family would like to sponsor the construction of a performance stage in the park’s meadow?
That sounded okay. And maybe, in addition to the Al Copeland Statue of Al Copeland Standing in Front of a Speedboat Holding a Box of Fried Chicken and a Racing Flag on Top of a Wishing Well in a Roman Forum-Type Structure Memorial Park, the family could also commission a memorial statue of their patriarch, Al Copeland.
According to the Times-Picayune, the Jefferson Parish Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday whether or not to approve construction (funded by Copeland’s trust) of a stage, an arched entryway, and “a paved and brick walkway leading to the Al Copeland Memorial Statue,” location TBD.
If the resolution is not approved, the family may have to settle for a more subdued memorial idea.
Like a platinum box of chicken that's perpetually exploding with the flame of a thousand suns.