Downtown statue to memorialize the iconic Leslie Cochran

What better way to Keep Austin Weird, then to memorialize the man who was the epitome of weird?

Leslie Cochran, the homeless and now deceased man who drew attention downtown for dressing scantily clad.

A statue of Leslie is planned at one of his favorite spots, the corner of 6th and Congress, right in front of the Starbucks.

It would be placed on an already existing bench there.

Leslie Cochran was famous among the streets of downtown Austin.

"He used to come by our store; people would take pictures with him. He would light up the tourists; the tourists would look for him. I think it's a staple," says Jasmine Holder, Austin resident.

Now we can bring him back.

A bronze statue, to forever immortalize the man who would Keep Austin Weird on a daily basis.

"I mean, as long as it's built for free because Leslie, you know that's the way he lived," says Drew Dunavan, Austin resident.

His life was somewhat of a mystery.

He was born in Florida and lived all over the United States, making Austin home for about a decade before dying in 2012 from a brain injury.

"When he died I said, I cannot be the only guy in this town, or person in this town, that has a Leslie story. He ran for mayor, he coined the term Keep Austin Weird, he was on refrigerator magnets," says Spencer Nutting, independent film producer.

It was that which compelled Spencer Nutting to start making a documentary film about Leslie.

He would like to see it fund a memorial for him.

"I hope I can find twenty people in this town and if I can't find twenty people in this town to lay down ten-grand for a Leslie statue, then I guess I'm in the wrong town," says Nutting.

He asked sculptor Bob Coffee to help with the project, his previous work includes the statue of Eeyore in Eastwoods Park.

After three months, this model was made.

The actual statue will be life-size.

Imagine passing by Starbucks, coming over to the bench, having a seat and right next to you is the iconic Leslie Cochran.

That could soon become a reality.

Nutting would like Starbucks to be the first to contribute, even going in there on Monday to show them the model.

"Don't remember him for the last days of his life; remember him when he made you laugh. He was like Mickey Mouse in Disneyland, people wanted to have their picture with him," says Nutting.

If the statue is made, Austinites can take a picture with Leslie once again.

Nutting would like to have the money raised before presenting the idea to the Austin City Council.

He also plans to enter his film into the South by Southwest festival next year.

If you'd like to learn more about this effort, click here.

You can reach independent film producer Spencer Nutting at snnutting@yahoo.com.

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