They came in strollers, all-terrain vehicles and wagons, and of course, cars and pickups.

They wore Laine T-shirts, tank tops and hats. Children held up homemade Laine posters. The fans waited patiently along U.S. 190 for the man of the hour, Laine Hardy.

Some Hardy fans huddled under umbrellas to shield them from the sun. Others sat close to their ice chests.

Thousands turned out to watch the "American Idol" finalist party through town aboard an airboat pulled by a truck. Mom and dad Cindy and Barry Hardy sat next to a grinning Laine Hardy, who waved to the crowd. Hardy rode near the end of a parade of Jeeps, ATVs, flatboats and a few truck floats. The Walker High School Band of Legacy played "Boogie Shoes" as they marched.

Jessica Williams and Terrie Ash, of Watson and Walker, respectively, made their own Laine T-shirts, which featured a silhouette of the singer on the fronts and the words "Party with a Hardy" printed on their backs.

"We're 'Idol' fans," Williams said. "We watch it every year. We've met Laine a couple of times when he's played shows."

Mary Downing, of Madisonville, brought daughter Quincy, 16, son Clay, 14, and family friend Hailey Wendelstedt, 15.

"He's really cute and he's a good singer," Quincy said of the 18-year-old Hardy.

Quincy and Clay showed off their glittery handmade posters proclaiming "We *heart* Laine" and "Pardi w/a Hardy."

"Laine spelled it (pardi) like that online one time," Quincy boasted. "So I'm a true fan!"


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Friends Susan Abels and Paula McCullough, both of Denham Springs, pulled on their shrimp boots for the occasion. Hardy has said when he's at home, he's barefoot or wearing shrimp boots.

"I have a sign, but I left it at my office," McCullough said, laughing. "A lot of people at my office are from French Settlement, so one of them got me a sign. I'm getting my mom in her 70s to vote, I'm talking her through how to text to vote."

Abels works in the office of Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks.

"They had an old lady called the office the other day," Abels said. "She said 'I really need y'all's help. Can y'all walk me through on how to vote?"

Sierra Austin and Chasity Barber, friends who work at Doyle Elementary, were out supporting fellow Livingston resident Hardy along with their children.

School was let out a little early, they said, so students and staff could make the parade and concert.

What do they like about hometown boy Hardy?

"What's not to like?" Barber asked.

"He's amazing," Austin said. "And most importantly he's from here. Hometown boy."

"And he's very handsome so …," Barber added.

Fans were just as enthusiastic at Hardy's four-song concert at the Livingston Parish Fairgrounds.

They cheered, waved signs, shot photos and videos on their phones, and sang along with Hardy when prompted.

"I love you, Laine," a teenage girl shouted from the back of the crowd.

Take a number, honey. Take a number.


Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr.