Back to Al........
Little known fact.....
When Joe Imprescia got married ( to the lovely Debbie) on the deck of Bob Kaiser's Cougar in Key West, Al opened up his Yacht, "The Cajun Princess", to the young couple, which was adjacent to the race boat (altar?). Debbie was given the run of the yacht and crew for hours, and she had a lavish environment to put on her bridal gown and "get ready". It doesn't take a genius to figure out that having a World class yacht at her disposal could really make this unusual wedding into something really "special" for a bride on her day. It also helped that she didn't have to travel miles from their hotel room in the heat dragging her various acoutrements.
Al also allowed an unsavory video crew (us) to stomp all over the "Princess" for precious camera angles (this was the world's only "narrated" wedding video...."Do you Debbie take this lunkhead in chinewalking and in cavitation"........).
During the ceremony I looked over at Copeland's big grin and realized he couldn't have been more proud and/or happy, if it had been his own family getting hitched. A truly generous guy...
Last edited by T2x; 03-27-2008 at 09:07 AM.
Obsolete and proud of it
GOOD ONLINE ARTICLE:
Al was our Elvis
Copeland's over-the-top life was a perfect fit for his fun-loving hometown
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
There were many terms applied to the larger-than-life character named Al Copeland: Larger than life, for instance. Over the top. Flamboyant. Ostentatious. In your face. Outlandish. A dreamer. A doer. A hustler. And, perhaps more than anything else: one of a kind.
There is only one term that did not apply, that he did not understand, that he would not abide: Moderation.
Copeland's life was marked by a carnival of controversy, wild schemes, wild rides, bright lights, fast cars and faster women. A New Orleans life. An American life. A never-say-die kind of life.
Until, well . . . he died.
In Al Copeland style, refusing to go gently into the good night, he jetted off to Germany in recent weeks to find a cure for a rare form of cancer. Unlike most of the ambitious plans he hatched over the past several decades, this one didn't materialize. Thus, his epitaph will read that he only met two nemeses in this material world that he could not defeat: cancer and divorce lawyers.
There's that old quote about how most men live lives of quiet desperation. Not Al. He lived a life of very loud desperation. Desperate to be noticed. Desperate to go fast. Desperate to be rich. Desperate to be powerful. Desperate to make a difference. Desperate to be remembered.
By most measures, and certainly by his own yardstick, Copeland was an enormous success, a classic rags-to-riches story, a guy who simply wouldn't quit.
There's no question that Copeland's critics matched his admirers in mass and volume. But his failures were all born of the same confidence -- or was it hubris? And does it matter? -- that led to his many accomplishments and achievements.
It's impossible not to admire the guy, what he did, how he did it and who he made himself to be. That song "My Way"? Yeah, that was his song. Except he was no Sinatra. He was our Elvis.
And as for Graceland . . . well. I remember the first Christmas after Katrina. It was a tough season all over. Hard times in a dark city.
My kids and I were driving around town to see what Christmas lights we could find. Naturally, we ended up at Copeland's house. It was as it always was. A fairy tale. Over the top. The Great Escape.
There was a sign in front of the house that year. It was signed by Copeland and it had an inscription about how it was more important than ever before that he put on a show for the children of the community. It had words like "sacrifice" and "spirit" and "gratitude" and all the right notes.
I cried when I read it. I cried a lot back then.
I wrote the inscription down but have long since misplaced it. I wish I still had it. I remember reading it and thinking: God bless this guy. He didn't have to do this. It was an easy time to opt out. Many did. But he didn't. Because it mattered. Because it's what Al Copeland set out to do: to set his house, the city, the world, his life ablaze.
My kids dug this guy. And they didn't even know who he was, what his name was. And now they do.
I told my daughter on Monday about Copeland dying and she said to me what I imagine a lot of local kids are saying to their parents this week: "Will we get to go see his house anymore?"
I realized it was like telling a kid that Santa Claus was dead.
"That's all right, daddy," she said to me. She can always tell when I'm getting choked up. Then: "He was a great man."
I said, "He made people smile."
My daughter, she hugged me.
Funny, shedding a tear over Al Copeland. I reckon after the many times I wrote about his lustful foibles in this newspaper over the past two decades -- he was an easy target for a newspaper columnist, to be sure -- that he would find that more than ironic.
But I'm a big fan of over-the-top. A big fan of celebration. A big fan of lust for life. A big fan of Big Fun.
Copeland epitomized these things. He was one more guy who put his life on display for all to see, another example of talking too much, living too large and laughing too loud -- those New Orleans attributes that sometimes make folks elsewhere a little leery of this place.
He made a difference. He was impossible to miss. He will be equally impossible not to miss.
Merry Christmas, Al, wherever you are.
The Chicken King has left the building.
EXTREMELY well said!
Thanks dellato, that was great to read. I have only had the pleasure of meeting the man a few times. First time Mike Stancombe introduced me to him out on the balcony at Teasers down in Key West, second time was at the OPA awards in Destin. We should dedicate the race season to him, he will truly be missed.
Throttles- Cleveland Construction 377 Talon
08 OPA Class 1 National Champion
08 Class 1 Geico Triple Crown Champion
08 OPA High Points Champion
10 OPA Class 1 National Champion ( happy now Ed! )
Nice story delleto Thanks
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