Ian Somerhalder of 'Vampire Diaries' parades with Mardi Paws at his 'hangout' on Lake Pontchartrain

The Pussyfooters walked the parade with "Vampire Diaries" actor Ian Somherhalder who reigned as Celebrity Monarch in this year's 20th annual Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws dog parade in Mandeville on Sunday March 9, 2014. The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, the actor's non-profit that in great part provides funds and awareness for issues related to animal cruelty, sponsored the parade that benefits the local nonprofits Have a Heart Thru Art, which provides access to art for underprivileged and disabled children; the St. Tammany Spay and Neuter Group, which provides spay/neuter services to low-income pet owners and rescue animals; and Scott's Wish, a group that aids those suffering with leukemia and other diseases. (Photo by Kathleen Flynn, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune)

"Vampire Diaries" star Ian Somerhalder returned to his home turf in St. Tammany Parish on March 9 as Celebrity Monarch in the Mardi Paws parade on the Mandeville lakefront.
"This is where I used to hang out. I mean, literally, right here," said Somerhalder, pointing at the ground. He said he used to fish in a little shack out on a pier that had since been washed away by Hurricane Katrina. "I was here every day of my life. This is where I rode my bike and my skateboard and it was incredible."
An alum of Covington's St. Paul's School, the actor – among the most followed people on all social media – uses his immense platform to support his home area. The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, the actor's nonprofit, focuses on animal welfare and environmental causes. The foundation was one of the sponsors of the Mardi Paws dog parade, which supports local charities. See more
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