Gov. Blanco

Gov. Kathleen Blanco joined officials in August 2006 in celebrating the grand opening of the South Central Planning and Development Commission on Main Street in Houma.

Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco died today after a lengthy battle with cancer.

She was 76.

Blanco had been in hospice care for the past several weeks after doctors concluded that her cancer could not be cured.

The announcement of her death came this afternoon in a statement written by family, but released by Governor John Bel Edwards.

"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," the statement read.

Blanco was a one-term Louisiana Governor from 2004-2008. She was also the state's Lieutenant Governor from 1996-2004.

Blanco's biggest challenge in Baton Rouge was dealing with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the cleanup and recovery that game with both storms.

Her family acknowledged in a statement on Sunday that Blanco will forever be died to the storms, but the family also wanted to stress that Blanco had an immense faith.

She was Louisiana's first-ever female governor.

"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," the statement reads. "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."

Since Blanco's passing, several lawmakers have released statements offering their thoughts and prayers.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) said Blanco served the state well.

“Governor Blanco conducted herself with class and grace. She loved and served Louisiana. She will be missed. Condolences to Coach and her children,” said Dr. Cassidy.

Gov. Edwards also released a statement on Blanco's passing on Sunday afternoon.

In it, he asked for the state's prayers for the fallen former leader.

"She led Louisiana through one of our darkest hours, when hurricanes and the failure of the federal levee system devastated much of our state," Edwards said. "I hope history will remember Governor Blanco as a tireless advocate for Louisiana, who fought fiercely for our state to rebuild following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"Louisianans owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Blanco, who always put the people of our state first, fighting to improve the quality of life for our families and children, championing better educational opportunities for all students at every level and building a stronger Louisiana. In 2004, she said: “I feel that call to lift up the less fortunate, the call to improve our communities and our state. It drives me to serve Louisiana as governor.”

"Donna and I hope you will join your prayers to ours for her husband Raymond “Coach” and their family and friends. May God bless them all during this difficult time.”

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Casey Gisclair is the Sports Editor at Rushing Media. A native of Cut Off and graduate of Louisiana State University, Casey is a lifelong sports fan who joined the Houma Times team in Dec. 2009 upon college graduation.

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