Louisiana’s only elected female governor, Kathleen Blanco, has passed away at the age of 76 after a battle with cancer. Blanco was a mother to six children and a former school teacher. It wasn’t until her early 40s that she got into politics when she was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1983.
Blanco served five years in the House of Representatives and in 1988 the New Iberia native became the first woman elected to the Public Service Commission. In 2003, she defeated Republican Bobby Jindal to become the state’s first female governor. 20 months into her administration the state was hit with two killer storms, Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
Blanco did not seek re-election in 2007. Ten years later, she announced that she had a rare cancer which eventually attacked her whole body. In public appearances leading up to her death, the former governor said she had made peace with her future and the devout Catholic said she had an extraordinarily full life.
Governor John Bel Edwards spoke about Blanco’s service and passing: