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Laine Hardy, right, reacts to being given a key to the city from the mayor as French Settlement High School hosts a pep rally for Laine Hardy Tuesday May 14, 2019, in French Settlement, La. There were skits, dancing, cheering and Laine Hardy impersonators. The event was held in the high school gym with students, faculty and media.

French Settlement officials gifted "American Idol" finalist Laine Hardy a key to the village Tuesday afternoon.

The presentation of the giant, ceremonial key came amid a pep rally at French Settlement High School, where Hardy graduated last year. He grew up just outside the town.

Hardy was home for a brief visit before the season finale Sunday night.

Toni Guitrau, the village mayor, and Teresa Miller, one of the alderwomen, presented the key along with a proclamation approved by the Board of Aldermen May 8.

French Settlement is a village of about 1,100 people in southern Livingston Parish.

The proclamation declared Tuesday, May 14, 2019, as "Laine Hardy Day" and calls him "an inspiration to America, Louisiana, Livingston Parish and French Settlement."

"You have created such excitement and anticipation across America, Laine, you are #1, and you will always be our Bayou Boy — our homegrown American Idol," the proclamation says.

After Hardy received the key, French Settlement High School Principal Lee Hawkins asked him how it felt.

"It feels funny, it feels weird, it does, I appreciate it," 18-year-old Hardy said.

Read the proclamation here:


Follow Caroline Grueskin on Twitter, @cgrueskin.