Kathleen Blanco: Louisiana gov brought down by Katrina dies

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Even after Hurricane Katrina ended her political career and cancer robbed her of her strength, former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco still described her life as “charmed.” The state’s first elected female governor refused again and again to wallow in disappointment or disaster.

A pioneering woman in Louisiana politics, Blanco died Sunday at age 76 in hospice care in Lafayette after battling an incurable cancer.

Blanco called it an “honor and blessing” to lead Louisiana through the destruction of Katrina. And as she knew her end was near from an incurable melanoma, Blanco talked of her final months as a “wonderful time for me.”

A Democrat, Blanco held Louisiana’s top elected job from 2004 to 2008. But her legacy rests with Katrina, the August 2005 hurricane that swamped much of New Orleans and killed more than 1,400 people in Louisiana.

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