Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana governor during Hurricane Katrina, dead at 76


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Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who led her state through the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, died Sunday after a protracted battle with most cancers. She was 76.

The workplace of Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed Blanco’s loss of life. She had been battling a uncommon type of most cancers that had unfold to her liver.

The Democrat who served in state authorities places of work for greater than twenty years had introduced in December 2017 that she was being handled for the incurable melanoma. “I’ve had a very full life,” she mentioned in her announcement of her terminal situation. A religious Catholic, Blanco thanked Louisiana residents for his or her “abiding love” throughout her years in public service and known as it an “honor and a blessing” to steer the state through the response to Katrina and Hurricane Rita weeks later.

Blanco was the primary lady to carry the publish of Louisiana governor; she took workplace in 2004. Her profession was largely outlined by Katrina 20 months later, in August 2005. The storm devastated New Orleans and resulted in over 1,400 deaths and 1000’s being displaced.

Native leaders, in addition to Blanco, have been criticized for what was thought of an unprepared and insufficient response. She shouldered a lot of the blame as footage of flooded streets and folks stranded on rooftops made information worldwide.

She mentioned the scenario was made worse by a Republican-led White Home seeking to shift the blame for its disaster-response failures.

Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, seen right here in 2007, died Sunday at 76. (AP Picture/Invoice Haber, File)


“I wasn’t conscious in these days that there was some intentional stalling happening in Washington,” Blanco mentioned in a 2015 interview with USA Immediately Community. “I felt like I needed to ask extra occasions than ought to have been needed.

“Katrina definitely left its mark and Rita left her mark on Louisiana. It made us more durable folks although. It made us stronger,” the previous governor mentioned this previous July.

Her political profession by no means recovered and she or he determined towards looking for a second time period.

“She was a lady of abiding religion and unconditional love for her household, Louisiana and people she served,” Edwards mentioned Sunday talking subsequent to first woman Donna Edwards, because the Information Star newspaper reported. “Louisiana has misplaced a champion. Donna and I’ve misplaced a pal.”

A former highschool instructor, Blanco served 24 years in elected workplace, making her means via state politics whereas not often making waves. She first served within the state Home in 1984 and ultimately served as lieutenant governor from 1996 to 2004 earlier than being elected governor.

She was additionally the primary ladies to serve on the Louisiana Public Service Fee.

Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco addressing a news conference as Gov. Bobby Jindal looked on, in June 2009. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

Former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco addressing a information convention as Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared on, in June 2009. (AP Picture/Invoice Haber, File)

She dropped out of the 1991 governors’ race however ran a profitable marketing campaign in 2003 to defeat then-rising Republican star Bobby Jindal, who served because the state’s Republican governor after Blanco.


She earned reward for elevating public college instructor salaries throughout her tenure, as supporters mentioned she ran a corruption-free authorities.

Throughout her last months, Blanco described feeling “blessed by God” and mentioned it was a “fantastic time for me, despite the fact that it’s a time of a sort of countdown.”

The Related Press contributed to this report. 

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