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Gov. Kathleen Blanco gave the opening speech of the 2006 legislative special session at the Ernest L. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

People who come to the Capitol Thursday for the public visitation of former Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco will see a video tribute of her on screens in Memorial Hall.

The Blanco family has provided an advance copy of it to The Advocate.

The seven-minute video features narration by Donna Brazile, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee and native of Kenner who felt a special bond with Blanco because both were born on December 15.


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“She was one of my favorite people,” Brazile said in an interview Tuesday night, remembering how on the day she recorded the video in April, she and Blanco sat on her porch in Lafayette afterward drinking lemonade and reminiscing.

“I loved that woman.”

The video features snippets of interviews with Blanco, news coverage during her political career and TV ads going back as far as her first political campaign, in 1983, for the state House.

It also includes a raw moment on the night in 1999 when Blanco was re-elected as lieutenant governor and thanked her supporters for helping sustain her family during their most difficult moment, the loss of Ben, the youngest Blanco child, who had died in an industrial accident two years earlier.

The video was produced by Jared Arsement, who grew up as part of the Blanco’s extended political family. His father Chris was the treasurer for Blanco’s political campaigns, and his mother Susie was the secretary for Blanco’s husband Raymond at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Arsement got his start working with the late Ray Teddlie, who was Blanco’s political consultant. Arsement produced the TV commercials for John Bel Edwards’ long-shot gubernatorial campaign four years ago and is doing the governor’s ads again this year as he seeks re-election.

Arsement said he felt a special responsibility while working on the video for Blanco to get it right.

“The family wanted as much as possible for it to be in her voice,” Arsement said, adding that he showed the former governor the video two weeks before she died on Sunday.

“She loved it,” Arsement said. “She thought it was a nice representation of her life.”

Email Tyler Bridges at tbridges@theadvocate.com.