Sunday, March 23, 2008

Al Copeland dies at 64

If you lived in Louisiana in the mid-70s, you'll remember Dr. John singing the jingle, "Love dat chicken from Popeye's!" It is without a doubt that, if you know the jingle, you also know about the man who overcame poverty by franchising his chain of fried chicken restaurants.

That man was Al Copeland, and to think of him made you think of spicy chicken, Christmas lights, power boats, Anne Rice, divorces, and big hair all at once.

Al died Sunday in Germany. He was there undergoing treatment for a very rare form of cancer.

Popeye's chicken is yet another thing I miss about Louisiana. I've seen only one Popeye's in San Diego. Hubby and I ate there once and it was completely awful. The chicken was greasy and the batter was soft, rather than crunchy. Oh well.

If you're in Louisiana, go have some Popeye's fried chicken and biscuits in honor of a very unique and extreme character who was a significant part of the fabric of New Orleans and surrounding areas.

13 red beans:

Geggie said...

I love dat chicken from Popeye's!

RIP, Mr. Copeland.

My parents met him in FL once about 10 years ago and he invited my folks to come hang out with him on his "boat". Turned out it was a yatch...he was still a good ol' boy.

John Austin TX fitness trainers said...

Some regarded this guy derisively as new rich white trash. Some are born on third base and think they hit a triple. This guy hit his own stand-up triple -- H/S dropout and for a time lived in the projects.

From the Times Picayune article - "After six months, Chicken on the Run was still losing money. In a last-ditch effort, Copeland chose a spicier Louisiana Cajun-style recipe and reopened the restaurant as Popeyes. In its third week of operation, Copeland's revived chicken restaurant broke the profit barrier."

Interesting what a small change can make in one's destiny.

Gumbeaux Gal said...

Very cool, Geggie!

Hi John, thanks for coming by! I agree with you that there are mixed schools of thought on Al. I agree that we have to admire his tenacity, hard work, and his generosity in the community.

Omnivore said...

My daughter worked at Strega, the ex-car dealership on St. Charles that so infuriated Anne Rice. Restaurant was pretty good -- Cajun fusion, one might say. The only Popeyes I know of is in Tierrasanta in the Navy housing area.

Omar said...

According to their website, there are several Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits in SD county; according to me, it's the best chicken my Memaw didn't fry:

1737 Euclid Avenue
San Diego, CA 92105 (619)527-6565

2210 E. Plaza Blvd
National City, CA 91950 (619)470-3002

2333 Highland Ave
National City, CA 91950 (619)477-5605

6095 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92115 (619)286-3322

3489 Santo Road
San Diego, CA 92124 (858)573-0035

9045 Mira Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92126-2717 (858)530-1664

110 Jamacha Road
El Cajon, CA 92020 (619)441-3355

1817 W Vista Way #F
Vista Way, CA 92083 (760)726-0071

511A Vandergift Blvd
Oceanside, CA 92056 (760) 757-9150


Gumbeaux Gal said...

Hey Omar,
Thanks for stoppin' by. Thanks for posting the addresses. Most of them are really out of the way for me. I think I will try the Mira Mesa one. (The Nat'l City one is the super-greasy one that I mentioned in my post. Fried is fried, but that stuff was so greasy that Hubby and I felt sick later that night.)

Omar said...

Hey Gumbeaux Gal,

No problem; I'm happy to help. FWIW, I've tried the one in Mira Mesa and it was good. My favorite is the College Avenue Popeye's; it's out of my way, but worth the detour.

As it happens, I'm sitting in a hotel in New Orleans at the moment (Sunday night at 12:15 a.m... damned time zones). I'm here visiting a friend who is about to pass away. The area being what it is, people have been feeding me all weekend.

My friend actually lives in the country, in Raceland, and her (Cajun) family is gathered to comfort her and each other. People have to eat, so the folks keep setting out food: boiled crabs, roast beef poboys with gravy fries, shrimp and crab stew, crawfish boudin, basted BBQ redfish "on the halfshell", more crabs, fresh beignets, and so on.

I'm not embarassed to say that I've eaten everything they've put in front of me, perhaps not with my characteristic gusto, but I've "cleaned my plate" nonetheless.

I appreciate your blog, Gal. I found you via a link on mmm-yoso, where I blog infrequently. Kirk posted a bit about Bud's reopening, and Bud's website linked back to you.


Gumbeaux Gal said...

Hey Omar, I thought it was you from mmmyoso. I wish that you were blogging from N.O. under happier circumstances.

I come from a small town not too far from Raceland and about a third the size of it. (I would give more details but am paranoid about providing too much info via the internet. You just never know who is lurking out there.)

You put your finger on the pulse of what people do here -- in both times of happiness and despair, we can be found in the kitchen and around the dinner table. We take solace in providing a meal in hard times and revel in all that we have (even if it really isn't fancy) in happy times.

It is wonderful of you to be with your friend during this time. Peace.

Omar said...


Thanks for your kind comments. Miss Ruth passed this morning. Never knew a nicer lady.

Oh, and I brought back 4 dozen boiled crabs and a couple of pounds of skrimps (head on, of course), plus 15 packets of Louisiana Fish Fry Products BBQ Shrimp spice mix... just the best flavor ever, if you use the requisite pound of butter to 5 pounds of shrimp.


Omar said...

Hey Gal,

My wife took the day off work, and at 1 p.m., asked me, "Should we have a couple of those crabs for lunch?"

We have 8 crabs left.


Gumbeaux Gal said...

Wow, I'd say that you and your wife but a dent in the 4 dozen crabs!

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's passing. But, she'd probably love that you enjoyed some good Cajun food today. :)

I hear ya on the LFF BBQ spice mix. It's excellent. So are the Seasoned Fish Fry with Fish Fry w/ Lemon. Can't go wrong with what my momma uses. ;)

I'm heading out there next week and will be bringing lots of goodies back, too!


The Trencherman said...

Hey Gal,

Came across this page as I wandered across the web. Are you still out there?


Make a Roux said...

Hello, my old friend, Omar! I'm still around and my diet has changed quite a bit since my old blogger days! I've got a new blog at Still getting the ball rolling on it, so there isn't much. Great to hear from you!

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