FRENCH SETTLEMENT, La. (WAFB) - When Laine Hardy was named winner of American Idol, the small town of French Settlement went wild.
“I believe I may have yelled,” said Glenn Ellis, one of Hardy’s former teachers. “I might have yelled ‘yes.'”
Ellis had Hardy in his shop class for all four years of his high school career.
“I don’t know about everybody else,” he said. “I was a nervous wreck when they, they took entirely too long to announce that at the end there, but I was very nervous, but extremely excited.”
Ellis’ sentiment is shared by others who have a personal connection with Hardy.
- Livingston Parish overrun with fans for Laine Hardy parade, concert
- Laine Hardy returns to alma mater, French Settlement High, for special pep rally
- Laine Hardy meets with Gov. Edwards Tuesday ahead of ‘American Idol’ finale; parade planned in his honor
- Hometown Hero: Laine Hardy makes it to top 3 on American Idol
- Livingston’s Laine Hardy one step closer to becoming next ‘American Idol’; advances to top 5
“It gives me chills every time,” said Rudy Gomez. “I get emotional like his mom and his family does. I'm very proud of him.”
Gomez owns Sarita’s Grill and Cantina in Maurepas. He says Hardy played his first show inside his restaurant.
“The response was ridiculous,” he said. “The amount of people that he pulled when he was only 14, he basically got everybody from both towns, [sic] and French Settlement.”
While fame and fortune await Hardy, Ellis says he doubts it will change the person he is.
“I really and truthfully believe that he’s going to stay true to his roots,” Ellis said. “He likes home and I don’t think he’s going to be one of those people that’s going to be out of here, you know, ‘I’m off to bigger and better things.’ I really and truly thing that he’s going to stay true to home.”
There’s no update yet on when Hardy will make it home, but when he does, French Settlement will be ready to welcome him back.