According to state officials, former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco is in hospice care. Blanco is the first woman ever elected governor of Louisiana. She was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma in 2011 and the cancer came back in 2017.
During her time in office, she championed issues including governmental ethics, criminal justice reform and education. She served one term from 2004 to 2008. Blanco was the governor of Louisiana when Katrina hit in 2005.
“She was really ground breaking going from the legislature, then moving to the public service commission, the tenet governor for two terms and finally the first woman elected to the seat of Governor,” says Dr. Pearson Cross, with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
A partnership between his department and the university is working to open the governor Kathleen Blanco Public Policy center on campus.
“I see the center as not just an accumulation of information for academic purposes but I see it also as a voice of balance, a voice of honesty so that the people can trust the information they get from the center,” explained Blanco in a video published by UL.
Governor John Bel Edwards recently honored Blanco in New Iberia at the dedication of her exhibit in the Bayou Teche museum. The exhibit will feature the desk she used during her time in office.
“Her origin is really interesting. She grew up fairly poor. She quickly became a bride and had six kids, all before she even thought about getting into politics,” explains Dr. Cross. “She took everyone by surprise, so it’s really an example of how you can really achieve from almost any background.”
Blanco served 24 years in elected office.