Former Governor Kathleen Blanco, who led Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, has died according to officials close to the family. Blanco, a New Iberia native, was the state's first and so far, only female Governor. She and her husband, Raymond Blanco, lived in Lafayette.

Governor John Bel Edwards released a statement to the public:

“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. “

According to Governor John Bel Edwards, there will be multiple events to honor the life of Former Governor Blanco. The following is a list of what will happen this week:

Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco will lie in state on Thursday, August 22, in the State Capitol Rotunda as part of a three-day Celebration of Life for the former governor, who passed away on Sunday following a courageous battle with cancer.

Governor John Bel Edwards has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until after the funeral Mass on Saturday, August 24.

Thursday’s remembrance will begin in Baton Rouge with an Interfaith Service at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, before an honor procession at the State Capitol, where she will be met with a military salute on the front steps and then lie in state for public visitation.

On Friday, there will be a public visitation and prayer service in Governor Blanco’s beloved Acadiana. On Saturday, a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Lafayette before a private burial.

Click here for the full Celebration of Life schedule.

SCHEDULE OF PUBLIC EVENTS

Thursday, August 22

10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Celebration of Life Interfaith Service

St. Joseph Cathedral
401 Main Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Note: This service will be broadcast by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

12:30 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Honor Procession 

Louisiana State Capitol (Front Steps)
900 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Note: Access to the State Capitol steps and the Rotunda will be limited beginning at noon.

1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Gov. Blanco Lies in State 

Louisiana State Capitol Rotunda
900 North Third Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Note: Access to the State Capitol steps and the Rotunda will be limited beginning at noon. Visitors should enter through the basement of the Capitol and will be guided through to the Rotunda. For security purposes, no bags larger than a small purse will be allowed.

Friday, August 23

12:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Public Visitation 

St. John the Evangelist Cathedral (Cathedral Hall)
914 St. John Street
Lafayette, LA 70501

Note: There will be a Recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. in Cathedral Hall and a prayer service from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Saturday, August 24

8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Public Visitation 

St. John the Evangelist Cathedral (Cathedral Hall)
914 St. John Street
Lafayette, LA 70501

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Reflections and Mass of Christian Burial

St. John the Evangelist Cathedral
515 Cathedral Street
Lafayette, LA 70501

Note: This service will be broadcast live by Louisiana Public Broadcasting. Following the services, there will be a private burial.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Memorials

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Governor Kathleen Blanco Public Policy Center, via the University of Louisiana - Lafayette Foundation, 705 East St. Mary Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70504 or online at Give.louisiana.edu.

Security

Access to the State Capitol steps and Rotunda will be limited on Thursday, August 22, beginning at noon. Visitors are encouraged to carpool and park in the lots along River Road, as parking in front of the Capitol will be limited. No large bags will be allowed at any of the memorial events.

Visitors who wish to pay their respects on Thursday in the Rotunda will enter through the basement of the State Capitol, where they will be guided through to the first floor of the Capitol. There will be no access from the front steps. Seating will not be available for those waiting in line.

Seating for the public may be limited at Thursday’s Interfaith Service and Saturday’s Mass of Christian Burial. There will be an overflow area at the Mass in Lafayette on Saturday where the service will be broadcast.