March 23, 2008


Al Copeland, flamboyant founder of Popeyes fried chicken chain, dies at 64 (The Associated Press, March 23, 2008)

After growing up in New Orleans, Copeland sold his car at age 18 for enough money to open his own one-man doughnut shop. He went on to spend 10 modestly successful years in the doughnut business.

The opening of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in New Orleans in 1966, however, caught Copeland's eye. Inspired by KFC's success, Copeland in 1971 used his doughnut profits to open a restaurant, Chicken on the Run. ("So fast you get your chicken before you get your change.")

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 under the name Popeyes Mighty Good Fried Chicken, after Popeye Doyle, Gene Hackman's character in the film "The French Connection." The chain that grew from the one restaurant became Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 23, 2008 6:26 PM

I went to Loyola NO in the mid-198os. Popeyes outsold McD and Burger King in New Orleans. Man it was good, "Spicy or Mild?" was the question always asked.

I remember when Al Copeland opened up Copelands on St. Charles & Napolean next to Fat Harry's bar. It was Copeland's attempt to mix Creole and Cajun food with the TGIF atmosphere. It wasn't bad food.

Posted by: pchuck at March 24, 2008 12:51 PM

Yea, pchuck, Copeland's wasn't bad at all. A great place to take out of town guests, if you lived Uptown. That and Crèpe Nanou on Robert street. (I was at Tulane in the '90s).

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at March 24, 2008 4:51 PM

Three-piece chicken dinner with a roll and their delicious red beans and rice...Mmm, Mmm, Mmm!!

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 24, 2008 7:44 PM