Designs show off memorial

The late Al Copeland, the outsized Metairie entrepreneur who made a fortune from his Popeyes fried-chicken restaurants and loved to race speedboats, will be memorialized in Lafreniere Park along with those twin passions.

A statue of Copeland will anchor the Al Copeland Concert Gardens, which will also include a performance stage. Copeland family members and Jefferson Parish officials debuted designs for the space on Friday.

The statue of the fried-chicken king has him holding a box of his most famous dish as two motorboats jut from the base.

Councilman Ben Zahn initially rejected plans that included a more flamboyant statue of Copeland waving a checkered flag and holding a box of fried chicken with a small speedboat behind him. That statue was to be encircled by a series of Corinthian columns.

The project is expected to cost $400,000 to $500,000 and will be paid for by Copeland’s family. It is not clear when it will be completed.

Copeland died March 23, 2008, of complications from cancer treatment. He was 64.