LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Officials in Livingston Parish are planning to celebrate American Idol top contestant and French Settlement native, Laine Hardy, with a homecoming.
According to a release from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, the homecoming parade is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14 at 5:15 p.m. at the Livingston Parish Fairgrounds. The parade will start at the Livingston Post Office and end at the entrance of the fairgrounds. Fairground gates will open at 3 p.m. to allow for parking before the parade.
In addition, Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards hosted Laine at the Governor’s Mansion Tuesday to congratulate him on his success.
“Today is the day the entire State of Louisiana is going to party with Laine Hardy," said Edwards.
The governor also declared May 14 Laine Hardy Day.
Folks in Livingston Parish couldn’t get enough of Hardy after he soared to the top three in American Idol. On May 13, dozens of folks cheered him on at Crazy Dave’s Daiquiri Bar and Grill in Livingston as Hardy fought to get one step closer to becoming number one.
“Seeing him on that stage and just coming so far, it’s amazing. It just makes me so proud. We didn’t even know he could sing,” said Brittany Banta, Hardy’s sister.
Brittany Hardy tells WAFB it’s kind of surreal seeing her little brother become a household name. She says it’s especially shocking since their family did not even hear him sing much before auditioning for the show.
“He’s grown as an artist. He’s figuring out who he is and what he wants to do and really getting a good head on his shoulders as far as what direction he wants to go, and its awesome,” said Hardy’s cousin and band member.
Even some of Hardy’s band members, who he played with for nearly four years, say they did not know the true talent he was hiding.
“He would sing a little bit and do back up but he was never really that confident in himself because he never really tried to do it until Sidney kind of gave him the push,” one of the band members added.
Now, they could not be more excited as the Livingston teenager gets to share a taste of the deep south with the rest of the world, courtesy of his voice.
“He’s grown as an artist and he’s figuring out who he is and what he wants to do,” one band member said. “He really has a good head on his shoulders as far as what direction he wants to go and it’s awesome.”
Some of the dozens who attended the watch party Sunday evening say Hardy’s success is truly putting the community on the map. His sister says she’s a proud fan, but she’s also ready to protect her little brother if needed.
“I told my momma that we would need to hide him when he gets back, because all these girls are going to think he’s so cute,” Banta added.
Those girls will not be the only ones watching him. The rest of the country is now paying attention to the teen as he inches one step closer to winning American Idol.