LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -It is a time of grieving, remembering, and paying tribute to former Governor Kathleen Blanco-- a sort of woman for all seasons whose life and legacy is being celebrated this weekend.
Louisiana's first woman governor is remembered as a devout Catholic-- yet one who welcomed those of faiths different from hers. And that was reflected in the diversity of ministers participating in the interfaith service at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Baton Rouge.
Her love and service to others was reflected in the readings.
"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” said Rev. Raymond Jetson, reading Matthew 25:31-40.
As in Blanco’s life, young people played an important role in the service.
A children's choir sang "This little light of mine."
A poem, “The Governance of Power,” by former poet laureate Darrell Bourque included Blanco's own wisdom she sought to pass along.
“All power comes from big heartedness and a plan; from hope and faith. And she’s saying to us today, give yourself that gift too.” The words included some of those Blanco spoke to graduates in 2017 at University of Louisiana Lafayette, when she gave the commencement address.
Governor John Bel Edwards spoke of her generous spirit.
“She spoke about the least among us. 'Lord when did I see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick or in prison. And this deep and abiding love she had for all of the people made her a special leader,” he said.
Authentic, consistent and sincere--all words he says describe her, along with her ability to connect with others.
From the service there was an honor procession to take her to the State Capitol.
Inside the rotunda her body was to lie in state until 6 p.m. Thursday.
And the three-day celebration of the life of Kathleen Blanco continues Friday and Saturday.
Public visitation continues on Friday, August 23, 2019 in Lafayette, La. between 12:30 – 8:00 pm at the St. John the Evangelist Cathedral Church Hall. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be recited at 3:00 pm, and a prayer service will take place between 6:00 - 7:00 pm.
Visitation will resume Saturday morning between 8:00 - 10:00 am, before processing to the Cathedral for a Mass of Christian Burial, beginning at 10:30 am. Private, family interment will be held following the mass.