Lucille Babineaux, mother of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, dies at 102

William Taylor Potter
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Lucille Fremin Babineaux, the mother of former Gov. Kathleen Blanco who died in 2019, died at her home Monday at the age of 102, Acadian Companies announced.

Acadian made the announcement on behalf of the Babineaux family. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Peter's Catholic Church in New Iberia on at 11 a.m. on September 26. The visitation will be from 4 -7 p.m. Sept. 25 at Pellerin Funeral Home on Jefferson Terrace in New Iberia, and will resume the next day from 8 a.m. until the time of the service.

"She was a role model of strength and fortitude," said Monique Boulet, Babineaux's granddaughter and the CEO of the Acadiana Planning Commission. "She always prioritized family and was a woman of great faith."

Babineux was born to Sentney and Marie "Ella" Fremin on Oct. 3, 1919, in New Iberia. She and her family lived on Avery Island until she was 13 years old. Her father ran the island's general store and served as the postmaster. Her mother taught Catholic education and boarded local teachers, according to the release from Acadian.

In 1932, the family moved to Burke. At 16, Babineaux graduated from Mt. Carmel Academy in New Iberia in 1936. Babineaux was the oldest living alumnus of Mt. Carmel Academy.

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She met Louis Babineaux of Coteau in 1935, and the two were married in 1942. The couple were together for 59 years, until Louis' death on Feb. 14, 2001. They raised seven children and ran The Home Rug Cleaning and Floor Company, which they founded in 1945 with Babineaux working as the office manager.

Babineaux volunteered at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church in Coteau. She was known as an excellent seamstress and cook who provided hospitality and meals to the priests. In 1956, the family and their business moved to New Iberia.

She was known as MaMaw to her family. She was the matriarch of a family of 105 and loved spending time with them, Boulet said.

When Babineaux's daughter, former Gov. Blanco, became sick, she was there every day for her daughter and the rest of her family.

"She was a great lady. She was just really stoic and solid," Boulet said. "I want to be like her if I ever get that old."

Lucille Babineaux unveils Historical marker honoring Louisiana's first female governor and New Iberia native, former Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Pictured L-R Raymond "Coach" Blanco, Priscilla Cadwell, Lucille Babineaux and Ji Cadwell.  Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

She is survived by her children: Kenneth J. Babineaux (Linda), Baron P. Babineaux (Karen), and Erroll C. Babineaux (Suzanne), all of New Iberia, Yvette Babineaux of Lafayette and Priscilla Babineaux Cadwell (John) of Richland, Washington, as well as, son-in-law Raymond S. Blanco of Lafayette.  

She is also survived by her grandchildren: Karmen Blanco Hartfield, Raymond “Ray” Blanco Jr., Monique Blanco Boulet, Nicole Blanco George, Kathleen (Pilar) Blanco Eble, William (Billy) Babineaux, Kenneth (Jamie) Babineaux Jr., Cherie Babineaux Bailey, Baron Babineaux Jr., Beryl Babineaux Broussard, Bart Babineaux, Camille Cox Renard, John William Cox IV, Jeffrey Cox, John Cadwell Jr., Marie-Elise Cadwell Meyer, Cherami Cadwell Freeman, Jay Cadwell, James (Brandon) Cadwell, Erroll (Charlie) Babineaux Jr., Elise Faucheaux; and an additional 36 great-grandchildren.

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Babineaux was preceded in death by her parents Sentney and Ella Fremin; her husband Louis, her siblings Rosa Mae Romero and Sidney Fremin; her daughter Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (former governor of Louisiana); son L. Louis Babineaux Jr.; granddaughter Patricia Lucille Babineaux; and grandsons Benedict Blanco and Cameron Bailey.

The entombment will be at Holy Family Mausoleum. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Babineaux's name to Ush One See Foundation, P.O. Box 1426, New Iberia, LA 70560, or to a charity.