Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, the first woman to serve as governor of Louisiana, will serve as the keynote speaker for the second annual Women With Heart Luncheon and Awards event.
The 90-minute program, which will be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 14, in the Opelousas Civic Center, is sponsored by the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.
“This is about celebrating and acknowledging women who make a difference in their community, who understand the value of philanthropy and take leadership roles in their community to make it a better place,” said Ginger LeCompte with the United Way.
Tickets are $25 and reservations are suggested.
“This prestigious event will be recognizing women leaders in our community who have distinguished themselves as caring, compassionate philanthropists and community volunteers,” LeCompte said.
During the luncheon two local women leaders will be honored and a “Power of the Purse” auction held.
LeCompte said the Women’s Leadership Council is thrilled that former Gov. Blanco has accepted its invitation.
“We wanted to choose a speaker who demonstrated the promise, possibilities and the power women possess when they choose to lead and advocate for the issues most important to a healthy community,” LeCompte said.
“The Women’s Leadership Council was unanimous in selecting Gov. Blanco, not just because of her accomplishments as an elected official, but most importantly for her spirit and inspiration she provides as a woman,” said Josie Frank, president of the Women’s Leadership Council.
“Regardless of your political persuasion, no one can deny that she is a woman of drive and determination — an inspiration to all women, young and old,” LeCompte said.
Blanco was elected to four different offices during her 24-years in public service, never being defeated. As lieutenant governor twice, she built the state’s tourism business into a $9 billion industry.
Through the Main Street Program, she worked with towns across the state, including Opelousas and Eunice, to help revitalize their historic downtowns.
As governor during and after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Gov. Blanco faced considerable resistance, but secured more than $29 billion for Louisiana — for levee improvements, housing grants and public infrastructure.
“Gov. Blanco prioritized investments from Pre-K to the university level, funding teacher pay raises and higher education at the Southern Regional average for the first time in a quarter century,” LeCompte said.
Call 337-942-7815 for more information or go to uwsle.org and click “events” to register.