Michael “Mike” Lorino, Jr. grew up in St. Bernard Parish. His father Mike, Sr. worked on the Mississippi River while his mother Bernadine volunteered at the Catholic Church. Mike and his two younger brothers grew up as did most young boys from Chalmette in the '50s and '60s, hunting the swamps, fishing the Mississippi River and shrimping the gulf waters.
The enterprising bug bit Michael at the age of 13 when he started working at the local Winn Dixie. He continued to work throughout high school and played various sports for Chalmette High.
At the age of 13, while working at the supermarket, he met a young lady, Donna Malsovich. Their relationship kindled through the years, even while Mike attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana University (now known as University of Louisiana at Lafayette), and spent a year at sea. They were married when they turned 21.
Mike's father-in-law was a river pilot, realized Mike to be a high achiever and encouraged his son-in-law to follow his example, albeit a difficult task. Mike worked hard as an apprentice. He spent years learning the ins and outs of a demanding profession from those who have spent their lives perfecting the craft. In 1978, Mike became a state-commissioned bar pilot.
Mike never forgot their vote of confidence and tutelage. He vowed to protect his state and work to improve its economy by safely moving cargo from around the world in and out of the Mississippi river. He also vowed to make his colleagues proud, to support them and to give back to the industry.
He ran for a position on the Associated Branch Pilots for the Port of News Orleans board in 1981. Since then, he has served as its vice president for nine years and president for 15 years. In his leadership capacity, aside from safely moving 500 million tons of cargo through the port each year, Mike became a key player in an industry that has an $11 billion annual economic impact, generates $2 billion a year in tax revenue and claims 1 in 5 jobs in the state.
* In his time as president, Mike has worked to bring in millions of dollars in funding for Louisiana's ports and waterways by working with local, state and federal officials.
While building his career, Mike and Donna had begun to build their family, having two children. However, tragedy struck in 1987 when his wife was in a fatal automobile accident and his father passed shortly thereafter. Mike continued his work in public service with the board and dove head first into the role of mother and father of his children. In fact, his greatest achievement has been teaching his son and daughter and now his grandchildren to be good citizens and stewards of their family and community.
In 1991, Mike met Peggy South while on a cruise. They began dating, meeting each other's friends and family and spending increasingly more time together and married in 1992. In 1998, they moved to the beautiful Northshore. Mike’s mother, their children and 4 grandchildren now reside close by in Mandeville and Madisonville.
Mike has served 24 years as the representative of the oldest river pilot association in Louisiana. He has worked closely with U.S. elected officials, governors, state legislators, and local governments regarding international, national and local issues.
This public service has prepared him for the next phase of his life; the opportunity to represent the people of District 4 on the St. Tammany Parish Council.