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Just another kid from French Settlement?        

Hardly.

Laine Hardy has quickly become a local sensation in Livingston Parish. After a hiccup on last year’s “American Idol” show sent Hardy home packing, the parish native put his pants back on and went back to work.

After graduating from French Settlement in May 2018, no one knew exactly where Hardy would end up – until his surprise entrance to the American Idol stage with Ashton Gill, another parish native. While Gill eventually fell out, Hardy has powered his way to the finale with skill, finesse, and charisma.

What’s come as a surprise, however, is Laine’s massive popularity at home.

The French Settlement native’s popularity has extended to every school in Livingston Parish, every business, every governmental entity, and every home. Thousands went out to both the Village of French Settlement and Town of Livingston for Hardy’s return home Tuesday, an event that didn’t disappoint as Hardy greeted old classmates and friends alike, then took a tour of Livingston and finally ended with a concert for all at the Livingston Parish fairgrounds.

Is everyone in Lane’s corner? Not everyone, certainly, but it would be difficult to spy the people in Livingston Parish who aren’t. That, in itself, is a symbol that perhaps there is a common ground in this place after all.

Consider the divisive nature of issues such as dirt fill, zoning, and drainage and how they are treated as an East versus West, North versus South debate – which sometimes gets a little hostile.

And yet here he is, a small-town guy who found a talent and used it to make it to center stage on national television. Hardy’s work, effort, and charm has brought together tens of thousands of people to support his final chance at becoming an American Idol champion.

So, get on the “Hardy Party” bus while you can, there’s just one episode left – and all of Livingston Parish is rooting (and voting) for the kid from French Settlement!

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