Tiffany Runnels and her daughter Sophia sport their Josh Ledet T-shirts at the start of the ''American Idol'' viewing party Wednesday night in Westlake. (Karen Wink / American Press)
Nathaniel Ledet, father of ''American Idol'' contestant Josh Ledet, checks out a cake honoring his son during an viewing party Wednesday night at the Recreation District 1-Ward 4 Multi-purpose Complex in Westlake. (Karen Wink / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, May 17, 2012 7:38 PM
WESTLAKE — As with any respectable gathering in Westlake, a large portion of the crowd that gathers to watch Joshua Ledet on “American Idol” at the Multipurpose building always wears orange and black — the colors of Westlake High School.
But high fashion around Westlake has taken a decided turn for the Joshua Ledet.
T-shirts supporting Ledet are sold for $15 by his family each Wednesday on Sampson Street and usually sell out fairly quickly, the family said.
Ledet is one of three “American Idol” contestants left. One will be eliminated tonight on the Fox television network’s talent contest and a winner will be chosen next week.
Total shirts sold number somewhere around 10,000, said his sister, Trista Ledet-Ames, a fact evident no matter where you travel in Southwest Louisiana.
Those at Wednesday night’s viewing party said they bought the shirts to back Ledet.
“It’s all to support him,” said Martha Hardy, who goes to church with Ledet.
“It’s awesome that everyone is wearing these and showing their support,” said Kayla Doty, who was sporting the new Westlake T-shirt couture along with her aunt at the viewing party Wednesday night.
Like several others, Hardy had to settle for the design she could get — a black T-shirt that bears the words “Team Josh” appears to be a favorite, but is hard to come by.
Demetria Captain, who, like Hardy, said she goes to church with Ledet, said she has bought two of the six T-shirt designs.
“I don’t have the money to get each one,” she said.
David Tanner, who said he is a friend of Ledet’s, said he already has two shirts, but wants a “Team Josh” shirt. “Every time I get down there, it’s gone,” he said.
Ledet-Ames said the family orders them from Kingdom Group in Houston, a service they had used before to order T-shirts for their church.
Ledet-Ames said money made from the shirts goes to the Ledets to cover expenses of traveling to Hollywood.
She said originally the family had the shirts made for themselves, but so many people asked for them they started having them made for others, too.
“It just lets me know the support is still there and they’re doing everything they can to get him to the finale and win,” said another of Ledet’s sisters, Joanna, who was selling T-shirts Wednesday with other Ledet family members, including his grandmother, Elaine Peltier.
A look back at home
Those who attended Wednesday night’s viewing party weren’t just there to hear Ledet sing, but to see how Southwest Louisiana was portrayed.
Ledet’s homecoming last Saturday was replayed on “American Idol,” including his parade down Sampson Street and his concert at Burton Coliseum.
“It was great,” Westlake Police Chief Michael Dickerson said of the segment. “It showed all the support he has, not just over Southwest Louisiana, but the state.”
Dickerson was shown several times during the segment.
Several in attendance agreed with him.
“It represented Southwest Louisiana real good,” said Westlake resident Ray Doran. “I was glad to see it.”
“(Ledet) saw that the whole state of Louisiana had encamped around him,” said Lydia Larce. “He didn’t know what Louisiana had been doing for him.”
Ledet’s family also said the singer was overwhelmed by Saturday’s turnout.
“He saw the masses, and he couldn’t believe it,” his father, Nathaniel Ledet, said.
“He thought he could still come home and go to the mall, and I was like, ‘No,’” Ledet-Ames said.
Dickerson said he is waiting for Ledet’s next homecoming so the area can have “another parade and celebration” for him.
Posted By: Alivia Braxter On: 5/17/2012
Title: Team Josh Ledet
I Love You Josh!!!!!!!!!!!!
FROM EVANGEL TEMPLE CHURCH FAMILY
Posted By: Roxanne Roessler On: 5/17/2012
TEAM JOSHUA LEDET !!!!!