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METAIRIE, La. -- The new design of the Al Copeland Memorial has both family members and officials excited about its addition to Lafreniere Park in Metairie.

While the original design was focused on a statue, the new one includes a prominent stage along with a statue.

'It's important I think to understand the full project,' Al Copeland Jr. said. 'This project will accomplish really what is in the best interest of Lafreniere Park, what is in the best interest of the community, what is in the best interest of raising funds for cancer research through the Al Copeland Foundation.'

The new design includes an elaborate entryway with a wrought-iron arch that reads Al Copeland Concert Gardens. Behind this is a 5,000 square foot memorial plaza that includes a bronze statue of Al Copeland Sr., who is holding a box of chicken. A stage with a 40-by-50 foot platform also is included.

When it originally was designed, the Copeland family proposed a life-sized statue amid columns. That was rejected by Jefferson Parish officials

'We believe this permanent stage structure funded by the Copeland family will make it cost-effective for us to stage more events and bring more people to Lafreniere Park,' Jefferson Parish councilman Ben Zahn said.

People will be able to buy memorial bricks that will be used to raise money for cancer research, something that excites the Copeland family.

The project is expected to be finished in the next three to four months.

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