Actor returns home for Festival of the Bonfires

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / December 15, 1999

LUTCHER – For the villainous character Michael Baldwin on “The Young and the Restless,” this was not his scene. For actor Christian LeBlanc of St.James Parish, who portrays Baldwin on the TV soap opera, it was coming home.

LeBlanc, his parents, Andre and Alice LeBlanc, and other family members were feted at a reception Saturday afternoon, one of the highlights of the Festival of the Bonfires.

The reception was hosted by family friend and former parish president Paul Keller.

More than 100 bought tickets for the event, held at the Knights of Columbus Council 1817 hall in Lutcher, where they watched LeBlanc grin with happiness and renew friendships from his boyhood.

“It leaves me speechless,” LeBlanc told the assembly. “This is a veryspecial place and you don’t know that until you’re back.”LeBlanc was named an honorary Lutcher citizen by Mayor Troas Poche and was presented with a key to the city. In addition, Parish President DaleHymel Jr. presented LeBlanc with a parish pin and festival poster.Of special delight to LeBlanc were comments by Ramona Veillon, his seventh-grade chorus director at St. Theresa Avila School. There, LeBlancwon not only the Christian Service Award but also the Choir Award.

“He was probably one of the smartest kids I ever taught,” she said.

In the reception line, as attendees filed in the door, he also grinned with delight upon meeting another former teacher, Sister Hilda Mallet.

The event was arranged by Crystal Faucheux and Camella St.Pierre-Landry,who spent months arranging for LeBlanc to visit the festival and serve as Grand Marshal of the annual Christmas parade, held Sunday.

A poem written and read aloud by John V. Chiasson was also offered inLeBlanc’s honor.

“I carry this place with me wherever I go,” LeBlanc said, beaming, his eyes bright with happiness, “and I can’t even help it!”

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