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Gov. Kathleen Blanco speaks Tuesday, April 20, 2004 during the Stand Up for Children 2004 Rally for Children on the Steps of the State Capitol.

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco will lie in repose in the State Capitol on Thursday as part of a three-day commemoration for the former governor who lost her battle with cancer on Sunday.

She was 76.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, who was especially close to Blanco, has ordered that government flags be flown at half-staff until after her funeral Mass on Saturday in Lafayette, according to a statement released by the Governor's Office on Monday.

The events for the former governor will begin Thursday with an interfaith service at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in downtown Baton Rouge beginning at 10 a.m. Louisiana Public Broadcasting will air the service.

Blanco's body will be brought to the Capitol at 12:30 p.m. An honor guard will carry her casket up the front steps, where she was inaugurated as governor on a cold day in January 2004. There will be a rifle salute and the playing of taps.

Blanco will be received by Senate President John Alario, House Speaker Taylor Barras, Blanco’s husband, Raymond, her mother, Lucille, and former governors, state Senate presidents, House speakers and House members.

Inside, those who knew and worked with her will initially pay their respects as Blanco lies in repose in front of the closed Senate doors in Memorial Hall. Alario and Barras had to approve this request.

“There was never any hesitation for either one of us,” Alario said Sunday.

The general public will be able to pay their respects from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The entrance will be through the breezeway on either side of the State Capitol steps. Inside, any handicapped, disabled or elderly people will be directed to use the main elevators to reach Memorial Hall.

Parking will be limited, so the Governor's Office is encouraging visitors to park at lots along River Road. No large bags will be allowed for any of the memorial services.

A public visitation will take place Friday at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Lafayette from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

There will be a Recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. in Cathedral Hall and a prayer service from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There will be a second public visitation at St. John's on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., a combined Reflections and Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. John's. Louisiana Public Broadcasting will air this event as well. The burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the Blanco family is requesting that donations be made to the Governor Kathleen Blanco Public Policy Center, via the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation, 705 E. St. Mary Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70504 or online at give.louisiana.edu.   


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Email Tyler Bridges at tbridges@theadvocate.com.