The Latest: Service honors Blanco, former Louisiana governor

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on the memorial services for former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

Hundreds of mourners packed a Louisiana cathedral to say farewell to the state’s only female governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, at the start of three days of memorials.

The public will be able to visit with Blanco’s family Thursday afternoon at the state Capitol and pay their last respects to the Democrat who led Louisiana during the massive blows of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Current and former state officials filled an interfaith service for Blanco on Thursday morning in a Baton Rouge cathedral. Gov. John Bel Edwards told those assembled that Blanco was a special leader who was “authentic, consistent and sincere.”

Blanco served one term as governor, from 2004-08. But she was a fixture in Louisiana politics for decades, winning elections to the state House, the state utility regulatory agency, and the lieutenant governor’s seat before reaching the top job.

She died Sunday from cancer at the age of 76.

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5 a.m.

Louisiana’s first and only female governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, is returning to the state’s ornate Capitol for her last time.

On Thursday, her casket will be carried into the building to the sound of a 21-gun salute honoring her service.

Mourners are expected to pack the Louisiana Capitol to pay their last respects to the Democrat who led the state during the massive blows of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Blanco died Sunday after a yearslong struggle with cancer. She was 76.

Public visitation at the Capitol will follow a morning interfaith service in a downtown Baton Rouge cathedral to memorialize Blanco, the start of three days of events for the former governor.

She will be buried Saturday in Lafayette, in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country.

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