FRENCH SETTLEMENT, La. (WAFB) - It’s all the buzz around French Settlement: Laine Hardy has made the final three on American Idol.
Of the little more than 1,100 people who live there, just about all of them are cheering Hardy on, as made obvious by the signs that litter the roads leading in and out of the village.
"I was not surprised to see the amount of signs in French Settlement because French Settlement is a town where we all support each other and if someone is down, we’re there for them and if someone is up, we’re there for them,” said Bobbette Larkey, a family friend of Hardy’s.
Being there for him is exactly what the town has done and it has propelled him all the way to the top three, but for the people that know him best, this moment was just a matter of time coming.
"He has so much talent in him and vocals and his voice. It makes me so happy to see him,” said Kassie Lobell, another friend of Hardy’s.
This is not Hardy’s first time on the show. In 2018, he made it to the top 50 before he was voted off.
"He went and did more shows with the Band Hardy and other places and you can see where his confidence has grown to where all of us can see,” said Holly Richardson, a friend of Hardy’s sister.
Larkey says Hardy has always been a performer.
"That’s what he likes to do,” Larkey said. “I mean, he’s not real comfortable sitting there and having a conversation. He likes to have that guitar in his hand and singing and entertaining people.”
Now, that performer is becoming a star right before his town’s eyes.
"When he come back the second time, I said he’s a winner and I do believe when he steps down, he will be the winner.”
Hardy will be back home Tuesday, May 14. He’s set to meet with the governor in the morning and then later in the afternoon at 5:15 p.m., Livingston Parish is throwing a parade in his honor. It starts at the Livingston Post Office and ends at the Livingston Parish Fair Grounds.
Attendees are asked to park at the Livingston Parish Fairgrounds and walk to line the route. Fairground gates will open at 3 p.m. Parade-goers will only be able to enter from Florida Boulevard.
For anyone looking to get their hands on Laine Hardy merchandise, Terrilynn Bourg, who runs merchandise sales, will have a booth at the parade.