NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As members of the state’s effort to save Louisiana’s coast debated future billion dollar diversions Wednesday (Aug. 21), the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority took time to pay special tribute to the late former governor Kathleen Blanco.
Blanco was instrumental in the creation of the CPRA and the group said she spearheaded their current effort.
And, CPRA Director Chip Kline said Blanco jump-started the effort to save the coast.
“Her words still ring true. People often say they never dreamed this program would work and have the revenues it has today,” Kline said.
In the gloomy days after Hurricane Katrina, Blanco came forward to coalesce the state effort to save the coast, when it was clear coastal defenses were not what they used to be. Sidney Coffee, the former director of CPRA, said Blanco’s support was monumental.
“She passionately support legislation to change the trajectory of the states coastal effort,” Coffee said.
Blanco was recognized for forming the CPRA, an organization which now spends nearly $1 billion every year, in a mostly unified effort to restore the coast.
“The vision that she had became reality,” Rudy Simoneaux, a CPRA engineer, said. “That vision came together.”
Blanco will lie in state at the capital rotunda Thursday. She died Sunday at the age of 76, after a bout with cancer. In addition to her environmental efforts, Blanco will be remembered for being the first woman to be elected as the governor of Louisiana.