Remembering Kathleen Blanco: Tributes pour in after former governor’s death

Remembering Kathleen Blanco: Tributes pour in after former governor’s death
The trailblazing former Gov. Kathleen Blanco passed away Sunday afternoon (Aug. 18), after a long battle with cancer.

BATON ROUGE, La. - Around Louisiana, communities are mourning the death of former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco.

Blanco, the first woman to be elected governor of Louisiana, died Sunday, Aug. 18 at the age of 76. Blanco, a Democrat, served as Louisiana’s 54th governor from January of 2004 to January of 2008.

Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco dead at the age of 76

Tributes to Blanco began pouring in after news of her death was made public. You can read them below.

  • Governor Blanco’s family:
“Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco peacefully passed away on August 18, 2019 at St. Joseph’s Hospice Carpenter House in Lafayette, Louisiana, surrounded by her beloved husband Raymond, her children and family. She was a woman of grace, faith and hope. She has left an eternal mark on all who knew her, because she was generous and unconditional in her love, warm in her embrace and genuinely interested in the welfare of others. While she knew that her name would forever be linked with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it was her dying wish that she be remembered for her faith in God, commitment to family and love of Louisiana. As Louisiana’s first female governor, her prestigious career cannot be separated from her faith and family - all are intertwined. In her words, her public service provided an opportunity for her “to be the voice of the voiceless; to shape the rising tide that lifts all boats; to advocate for policies and changes that make good common sense; and to have a positive impact on the lives of all people. Our hearts are broken, but we are joyful in knowing that she is rejoicing in her heavenly reunion with Christ. Please pray for God’s peace to carry us through the coming days and months of sorrow as we mourn her absence from our lives."
- Family of former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
  • Blanco’s former deputy chief of staff, Kim Hunter Reed:
Kathleen Blanco's former chief of staff
  • Governor John Bel Edwards:
“She was a woman of grace, faith and hope. She has left an eternal mark on all who knew her because she was generous and unconditional in her love, warm in her embrace and genuinely interested in the welfare of others. While she knew that her name would forever be linked with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it was her dying wish that she be remembered for her faith in God, commitment to family and love of Louisiana. As Louisiana’s first female governor, her prestigious career cannot be separated from her faith and family — all are intertwined. In her words, her public service provided an opportunity for her ‘to be the voice of the voiceless; to shape the rising tide that lifts all boats; to advocate for policies and changes that make good common sense; and to have a positive impact on the lives of all people.’ Our hearts are broken, but we are joyful in knowing that she is rejoicing in her heavenly reunion with Christ. Please pray for God’s peace to carry us through the coming days and months of sorrow as we mourn her absence from our lives.”
-Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards
  • Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin:
  • Louisiana Attorney General Jeffrey Martin Landry:
  • Congressman Ralph Abraham:
  • Congressman Cedric Richmond:
“Governor Blanco was a giant whose life and presence in Louisiana politics made an indelible mark in history, and I am saddened by the news of her passing. As Louisiana’s first woman to serve as governor coupled with her time spent in the Louisiana State House, Governor Blanco was a trailblazer whose work and dedication to the state of Louisiana remains unquestionable. Her legacy of leadership during the plight of Hurricane Katrina will be marked by her championship of all Louisianans. It has been an honor to work with Governor Blanco during my career, and I am grateful for her service. I send my sincere condolences, prayers, and strength to the Blanco family during this difficult time. May her soul rest in peace.”
- Congressman Cedric Richmond
  • Congressman Steve Scalise:
  • Senator John Kennedy:
  • Senator Bill Cassidy:
  • East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome:
“Governor Kathleen Blanco was a true pioneer whose loss is felt across the state. She was a friend and ally during our time together in state government. Governor Blanco led with courage, fought for our future and put people over politics.”
- Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome
  • President of the New Orleans City Council and First Division Councilmember-at-Large Helena Nancy Moreno:
  • President of Louisiana State University F. King Alexander:
  • Former Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu:
  • Louisiana Democratic Party (LDP):
"Gov. Blanco was a trailblazer - she destroyed glass ceilings, fiercely defended the most vulnerable, and was a true Louisianian at heart who loved her home. The policies she fought for and the way she treated those around her reflected her values, morals, and love for Louisiana in every way. Whether it was rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or fighting to invest in our children’s education, she showed unwavering resolve in the face of our state’s biggest struggles. Her strength and compassion inspired me, and I know countless Louisianians and women around the country feel the same. We lost a true champion for our state today, but her legacy and work lives on for generations”
- Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party
“I’m devastated to hear about the passing of Gov. Blanco. As governor, she led Louisiana through some of the hardest times in our state’s history with grace, strength, and compassion. Through her years of public service, she never forgot why she ran for office in the first place: to make the lives of others better. And she did just that. Every Louisianian is better for her time leading our great state.”
- Stephen Handwerk, Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party
  • Acadian Companies Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag:
“So many emotions came to mind when I learned of the passing of Governor Kathleen Blanco. I’m filled with sadness as Elaine and I have lost a great and devoted personal friend. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to Raymond and the entire Blanco and Babineaux families. While we grieve her passing, I find solace in knowing that her strong Catholic faith not only gave her comfort in her final days but also ensures that she will be received by the God she loved so much and served so faithfully. Kathleen was a brilliant teacher, an astute politician, a dedicated public servant and a pioneer among women in Louisiana politics. She met all of her challenges and opportunities with skill, grace, wisdom and compassion. Our community, our state and our nation have lost an outstanding public servant. Most importantly, Kathleen was a gracious and loving daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother. She loved her family and they brought her such joy. I was always so impressed with how hard Kathleen worked in whatever she was doing. In her rise from the legislature, to the Public Service Commission, to the Lt. Governor’s office and finally to the Governor’s Mansion, Kathleen remained devoted to helping all of the citizens of Louisiana. Whether it was an initiative to help the poorest of our state or a business development project, Kathleen remained steadfast in doing what she felt was in the best interest of our state. Even in the darkest times following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, her strength and resolve inspired me and countless others as she led us to recovery. While Kathleen may always be remembered as our first female governor or for her many other public achievements, I will always remember her as a loving friend and a compassionate leader.”
- Acadian Companies Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag
  • Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED):
“On behalf of the board of commissioners of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED), I want to convey our sympathy to the family of Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco on her passing. We were privileged to serve with her on this commission and benefitted by her wisdom, experience and support of our efforts. Just a few weeks ago, the Saints honored Governor Blanco for her work in leading the effort to restore the Louisiana Superdome in time for the beginning of the 2006 season. It was a fitting tribute for a leader who put her reputation on the line, demonstrating to the NFL and the nation that our state’s people would not be denied in our ability to be competitive again in record time. In the coming days, we will be reminded of Governor Blanco’s years of public service to the people of our State. She faced her crises head-on and demonstrated her courage and determination, whether it be the challenge of the post-Katrina and Rita environments in 2005 or her own long battle with cancer. We hope her family is comforted by the knowledge that she will be remembered as a fighter for Louisiana and our values.”
- Kyle M. France, Chairman of the LSED Board of Commissioners
  • Southern University President Dr. Ray Belton:
The Southern University family of students, faculty, staff, and alumni mourns the loss of former Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, one of Louisiana’s finest and greatest champions for public higher education. Her dedication to education can be seen in classrooms and institutions across our state. We all benefited in so many ways from her profound wisdom, dedication, and passion for the betterment of life for Louisiana citizens. I join others as we express our deep appreciation for her unyielding support. Governor Blanco’s impact on this state will be remembered in so many ways.
Dr. Ray L. Belton, President, Southern University
  • Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon
Today, Louisiana has lost one of its foremost advocates,” said Commissioner Donelon on Sunday. “Following the 2005 hurricanes, Governor Blanco was resolute in her commitment to maintain a private sector model for Louisiana’s insurance industry. Her steadfast dedication to free market principles ensured that Louisiana taxpayers would not bear the brunt of future losses in the wake of disasters.
Jim Donelon, Insurance Commissioner
  • Louisiana Right to Life:
On behalf of many other pro-life leaders in Louisiana, we express our condolences on the passing of Gov. Blanco. Both as governor and in other elected offices, Gov. Blanco was 100 percent pro-life, even in the face of pressure from national party leaders to change her position. We appreciate her dedication to life and appreciate her faithful service to our state.
  • America’s WETLAND Foundation:
She was a gracious leader whose love of family translated into the compassion and kindness with which she led the state of Louisiana. She served as a true public servant with honesty and integrity and a passion that never waned.
  • Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus:
Governor Blanco was a committed, faithful and extraordinary servant, whose life’s work exhibited the purpose and plan of God. Her determination and faith to dare to believe God resulted in her becoming the first woman to serve as Governor of Louisiana. We, as a women’s caucus, honor her legacy, life, service, courage and boldness to excel beyond the limitations and expectations others sought to impose upon her.
Chair of Women's Caucus Sen. Beth Mizell

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