'We lost a real Louisianian’: Hundreds pay last respects to Gov. Kathleen Blanco
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco will lie in state on Thursday, Aug. 22, in the State Capitol Rotunda as part of a three-day Celebration of Life for the former governor, who passed away on Sunday, Aug. 18 following a courageous battle with cancer.
Former Gov. Blanco Deputy Chief of Staff and current Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Kim Hunter Reed delivered a reflection of the former governer at Thursday’s Interfaith Service.
“Louisiana is a better place because Kathleen Babineaux Blanco served and sacrificed, lived and loved,” Dr. Reed said. “Thank you governor for giving it your all. We love you and we miss you.”
Governor John Bel Edwards said that Blanco’s deep and abiding love for the people of Louisiana made her a special leader.
“She was a good and decent person who understood people because she understood life – its beauty as well as its hardships,” Edwards said.
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Governor John Bel Edwards has ordered flags be flown at half-staff until after the funeral mass on Saturday, Aug. 24.
Blanco’s casket will be guarded until the private burial on Saturday. Her grandsons will be pallbearers.
Thursday’s remembrance began in Baton Rouge with an Interfaith Service at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, before an honor procession at the State Capitol, where she was met with a military salute on the front steps. Blanco will 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.
Gov. Edwards’ office says Blanco was a devout Catholic who welcomed those of differing faiths. Her interfaith service will include reflections from Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Louisiana’s commissioner for higher education, and a former deputy chief of staff to Governor Blanco, as well as Governor Edwards. Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of New Orleans will preside over the service, along with other clergy. Friends of the Blanco family will recite a Litany for Louisiana similar to the one recited at her inauguration ceremony.
Also during the interfaith service, the Southern University Gospel Choir and the St. Aloysius School Performance Choir will perform. After the service, the Louisiana National Guard will perform a 21-gun salute at the capitol before Blanco will lie in state.
Click here for a detailed schedule of events.
- 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Celebration of Life Interfaith Service: St. Joseph Cathedral, 401 Main Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
- 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. Honor Procession: Front step of the Louisiana State Capitol (Note: Access to the State Capitol steps and the Rotunda will be limited beginning at noon.)
- 1 to 6 p.m. Gov. Blanco Lies in State: (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.)
- 12:30 to 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.)
- 8 to 10 a.m. Public Visitation: St. John the Evangelist Cathedral (Cathedral Hall) 914 St. John Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
- 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Reflections and Mass of Christian Burial: St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, 515 Cathedral Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
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.
Access to the State Capitol steps and Rotunda will be limited on Thursday, Aug. 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.
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