Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Final Holiday at Al's Place

The above picture was taken by Eric Miller in front of the Metairie home of the late founder of Popeyes Chicken, Al Copeland, who lived a life that was even flashier than his annual Christmas display. For many years, Mr. Copeland lavishly decorated his house during Christmas, to the chagrin of some area residents who complained about the increased vehicular and foot traffic the display brought to the neighborhood. Mr. Copeland went to court to defend his Christmas decorations, which included both secular Christmas characters and a large Nativity scene.

A trip to Mr. Copeland's house to see Santa Claus and gaze at the elaborate light display and animatronics was a Christmas season staple for many area children over the past three decades. The only figure that could compete with Mr. Copeland when it came to being identified with Christmas in New Orleans was Mr. Bingle.

With Mr. Copeland's passing in March, this will be the final Christmas the southshore mansion will be illuminated, as the Copeland family donated the equipment to the local government, which will display the restaurateur's electric Christmas legacy at Lafreniere Park.

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