Blanche Francis, the former faculty member at what is now the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and Xavier University in New Orleans, died on October 12 from complications of dementia at her home in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 89 years old.
For more than 45 years, Francis served as “First Lady” at Xavier University where her husband Norman was the longest-serving university president in the nation. She was active with many civic organizations and groups and a potent fundraiser.
A native of New Orleans, Francis graduated from Xavier University with a degree in physical education. She did graduate work at Indiana University before teaching modern dance at the university level. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans.