From Staff Reports
Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco passed away Sunday afternoon August 18, 2019 after a long battle with cancer. She was 76 years old. A Democrat elected in 2003, Governor Blanco was the first female to serve as governor of Louisiana.
Prior to being elected governor, Blanco was elected to the the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1983 and the Louisiana Public Service Commission in 1988. She was elected to two terms as Louisiana’s lieutenant governor during the administration of Republican Governor Mike Foster (1996-2004). She served one term as Louisiana’s governor, opting not to seek re-election in 2007. She beat Republican Bobby Jindal in the 2003 race for Louisiana governor. Jindal was elected Louisiana governor in 2007.
One of the lasting legacy’s of Blanco’s term as governor was the double impact of having two hurricanes strike the state almost one month apart (Katrina in August 2005 and Rita in September 2005). Tributes are pouring in from both politicians and the public all around the state of Louisiana, as well as the nation, remembering Governor Balnco as a trailblazer. She is being remembered as a governor who cared deeply about the people of Louisiana and tried to enact public policy that truly helped the citizens of her state.
Governor Blanco was diagnosed with ocular melanoma, a rare form of eye cancer, in 2011. The cancer went into remission and then returned, spreading to her liver. She had been in rapidly declining health for the last several months.
There will be several events held to honor Governor Blanco in Baton Rouge on Thursday August 22, 2019. There will also be a funeral Mass on Saturday August 23, 2019 with a private burial. Additionally, there will be a public visitation in Lafayette on Friday August 23, 2019. Details will be released on Monday.
Plans call for an inner-faith service at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in downtown Baton Rouge beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday August 22, 2019. Following the service, her body will be brought to the state Capitol around 12:30 p.m. where it will lie in state in front of the closed Senate doors in the Capitol Rotunda.