Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco never lost an election in her political career, but now, the Lafayette-area Democrat admits with her liver cancer diagnosis, she is in for the fight of her life, one that will be difficult to win.
WWL-TV political analyst Clancy DuBos said there are few politicians alive today in Louisiana as loved and as respected as Blanco.
"In addition to never having been touched by scandal, Kathleen Blanco had a deep reservoir of personal integrity and warmth and genuiness," DuBos said.
Blanco served in the State House, Lt. Governor's office and one term as governor from 2004 to 2008.
She chose not to run for re-election after criticism of her performance during Hurricane Katrina.
Blanco's former communication director Bob Mann says people's opinions of her post-performance have softened over time.
"I think people are already re-assessing her term as governor," Mann said. "What I think people will see in her is that she never stopped fighting for the state."
Those who know and worked with Blanco believe she now shows that same fight in her battle with cancer.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu released a statement in part saying, "I had the opportunity to witness firsthand her strength and courage in the face of adversity. I know that same sense of resolve is with her in this difficult time."
Current Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said, "Now we ask the people of our state to join their prayers to ours that she, aided by the Great Physician as well as her medical team, wins a great victory over her cancer and is restored to full health."
Blanco's family reports prayers of support over the past few days are lifting the former governor's spirits.
Following is a statement from the family:
"Governor Kathleen Blanco and her family sends thanks and appreciation for the supportive messages and prayers for her recovery coming from across Louisiana and around the country.
"She is beginning to feel stronger after recovering from her first treatment in Philadelphia. She believes the extraordinary out pouring of prayer has much to do with her progress. Again, thank you from the Blanco family. This is just the beginning of a long journey."