American Idol finalist Joshua Ledet is greeted by fans as his arrives at Million Air in Lake Charles on Friday. (Karen Wink / American Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:46 PM
Saturday’s outpouring of local love for Josh Ledet was no one-way street, not as the American Idol finalist wended his way through a Westlake parade route, sang before a packed house at Burton Coliseum or visited with Contraband Days crowds along Lake Charles’ waterfront.
That’s because the ever effervescent youngster – he’s just 20, but hasn’t he lived a lot in these last few short months? – loved his hometown, family and friends right back over the course of an action-packed weekend.
Ledet’s unbridled enthusiasm was on display from the moment he deplaned from a private jet at Chennault on Friday evening. He told reporters there that he was “freaking out” when the jet descended over Calcasieu Parish and through the clouds, revealing the Interstate 210 bridge, a landmark well familiar to the young man who graduated Westlake High.
After Hollywood, adoring fans and time with J.Lo, it’s nice to know that home still looks mighty good to this favorite son.
And why not? No matter how far he has roamed, he has remained in the hearts of his friends, family and neighbors. “Team Josh” has extended beyond family and Westlake to Calcasieu Parish and Southwest Louisiana. The lieutenant governor ships him Louisiana food. (His favorite: crawfish.)The entire state is embracing him as its representative on national TV, where his performances on American Idol – he is one of three contestants still in the running for the Idol title – have electrified audiences across America. Among those who are routinely electrified by the Joshua Ledet magic are the three Idol judges, who know the magnitude of the talent he displays.
Through it all, Josh has displayed for the American public the attributes that endear him to Louisianians. He’s good natured, humble and fun, the obvious product of very good parenting.
Thus far, he shows a maturity and balance that belie his impish demeanor and tender years. He was, he told reporters Friday, most eager to return to West Lake High School on Saturday, where he would reconnect with friends and mentors who were close to him before American Idol. It is good to know who your friends are.
Asked that afternoon what type of music he might pursue after the Idol phase of his budding career passes, he replied he would not do anything “that’s not me.”
“Just something I believe in, that my family believes in, something that speaks to people, something positive.”
That, in short, is what Joshua Ledet’s American Idol journey has represented for his home state: something we can believe in, something that speaks to people, something that has been very positive.
In short, he has made Louisiana proud, every step.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.