Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco dies

She lost her battle with cancer at 76

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
August 18, 2019 - 3:56 pm

The first and only woman to be governor of Louisiana had died.

Kathleen Blanco was 76.

She fought a long battle with cancer.

Blanco was governor during the devastating Hurricane Katrina.  She lost her reelection bid to Bobby Jindal amid harsh criticism of the state, local and federal response to Katrina.

Among her accomplishments was the credit she got for keeping the New Orleans Saints from leaving Louisiana for good after Katrina.  Blanco worked with the NFL and the Saints to ensure a future in the Superdome despite extensive damage.  She led the effort to rebuild and renovate the Superdome quickly after the storm.

Earlier this year the Saints announced she would be inducted into the team Hall of Fame for her efforts.

"This city and this region and Saints fans everywhere really needed something to rally around," Blanco recalled at the announcement news conference.

Listen to the Saints Hall of Fame announcement and news conference where Blanco spoke...

More about Blanco from her official state biography...

  • Born: December 15, 1942, Iberia Parish
  • Political Affiliation: Democrat
  • Religious Affiliation: Catholic
  • Education: B.S. Business Education, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 1964
  • Career Prior to Term: Teacher; Political Consultant; State Legislator; Member & Chairman Public Service Commission; Lieutenant Governor
  • How She Became Governor: Elected in 2003

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco is the first woman to be elected governor of Louisiana. In her long career of public service, she has distinguished herself and her state in a variety of positions of ever-increasing responsibility.

Kathleen Blanco served in state offices since 1984, when she became the first woman ever elected to represent the people of Lafayette in the state legislature. She serviced two terms before being the first woman elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission. While on the PSC, she served as chairperson in the 1993 and 1994. In 1996, she was elected to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, along with many other economic activities, was to position Louisiana along with Paris, Rome, and London as a top travel destination.

Blanco served two terms as Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. She was re-elected by an overwhelming eighty percent of the state’s electorate. As the state’s second-highest official, she directly supervised the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which encompasses the Offices of State Parks, State Museums, State Libraries, Cultural Development and Tourism. Through the park system, she was successful in launching the Audubon Golf Trail. She also administered the Louisiana Serve Commission and the Louisiana Retirement Development Commission. Louisiana Serve oversees 64 national service projects across Louisiana and involves more than 13,000 service volunteers. The retirement development commission is dedicated to marketing Louisiana as a premier retirement state.

Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and her husband Raymond had been married since 1964. They are the parents of six children.


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