Former Louisiana governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has died at 76 after a long battle with cancer. Blanco was the first female governor of Louisiana and was in office during the unprecedented devastation of Hurricane Katrina. “Our hearts are broken, but we are joyful in knowing that she is rejoicing in her heavenly reunion with Christ,” Blanco’s family said in a statement. “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.” Blanco became governor in 2004, just one year before Katrina hit, killing more than 1,400 people and displacing hundreds of thousands more. The governor’s legacy was marred by the state and federal government’s slow response to the tragedy, and Blanco herself was criticized for appearing unprepared and indecisive. “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,” Blanco’s family said.
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