Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco: Woman of 'grace, faith and hope' mourned by many
Greg Hilburn, Lafayette Daily Advertiser, August 18, 2019
Gov. Kathleen Blanco is greeted at the Enterprise Center of Louisiana during a tour for the Governor of the Carencro facility Oct. 12, 2004. (Photo: Advertiser file photo)
Louisiana's top leaders and national admirers of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco grieved Sunday with the news of her death after her long battle with cancer.
"She was a woman of grace, faith and hope," Gov. John Bel Edwards said when announcing her death Sunday. "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."
"Kathleen was a dedicated public servant and a loving mother, daughter and wife," said Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy. "She led a remarkable life, but wasn’t immune to tragedy. She handled those tragedies with tremendous courage and unwavering faith. True faith makes you fearless, and that faith was Kathleen’s solace and strength. Louisiana has suffered a tremendous loss with her passing.”
Gov. Kathleen Blanco hugs Rosalie DiCristina as she waits at the Alexandria armory for her son Chris Broussard to come home. (Photo: Advertiser file photo)
"Gov. Blanco conducted herself with class and grace," said Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy. "She loved and served Louisiana. She will be missed."
"Kathleen loved Louisiana and served the state for decades," former Gov. Bobby Jindal said. "She faced every struggle, including her last, with good cheer and a strong will."
"Gov. Kathleen Blanco served the people of our state with honesty, integrity, grace and compassion," said Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans and lieutenant governor when Blanco served as governor during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "When I served alongside her as lieutenant governor during our state’s most trying time, I had the opportunity to witness firsthand her strength and courage in the face of adversity."
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a woman whose leadership was an inspiration and a strength for the people of New Orleans and for all of Louisiana," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. "Knowing this day was imminent does not make the loss any easier to bear."
The Lafayette Parish Association of Educators honors former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco for her work to enhance Louisiana's public education system Thursday at A La Carte July 17, 2008. (Photo: Advertiser file photo)
“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,” said state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party. "The policies she fought for and the way she treated those around her reflected her values, morals, and love for Louisiana in every way.
"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,” Peterson said.
"Kathleen was a brilliant teacher, an astute politician, a dedicated public servant and a pioneer among women in Louisiana politics," said Richard Zuschlag, chairman and CEO of Acadian Companies. "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."
Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and President George W. Bush visit before the Acadian Ambulance Paramedic Luncheon, May 24, 2011. (Photo: Advertiser file photo)
"I am deeply saddened to learn the passing of a dear friend, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco," said U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat. "While I am saddened at her passing, I also rejoice for the life she lived and I am filled with gratitude for the contributions she made to make Louisiana a better place."
Blanco's death touched many across the country who knew her as a colleague and public servant, even from Republicans who didn't agree with her politics as a Democrat. They celebrated her life and her love for her husband, “Coach” Raymond Blanco, and their six children
"Was sad to learn of the death of my dear friend, Gov. Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana," former GOP Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted Sunday afternoon. "We were from different parties, but she and her husband (everyone just called him "Coach") were classy, lovely people and we worked together on projects that helped both our states. I will miss her!"