Former councilman V.M. ‘Lank’ Corsentino dies; took pride in representing ‘the little guy’ _lowres

Vincent 'Lank' Corsentino

Former Baton Rouge Councilman Vincent M. “Lank” Corsentino Sr., who represented north Baton Rouge for three terms between 1969 and 1988, died Monday. He was 95.

A colorful personality with a tall, thin frame that earned him his nickname, Corsentino was born to Sicilian immigrants in Baton Rouge, fought as an Army infantryman in World War II and returned to Baton Rouge to start a 35-year career as an operator at the Kaiser Aluminum Plant.

Corsentino served on the Baton Rouge City Council from 1969 to 1972 and then returned to the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council for two consecutive terms from 1980 to 1988, representing a working-class area of north Baton Rouge.

Genna Corsentino, his daughter, said her father was particularly proud of his role in bringing Emergency Medical Services to the parish and his record of pushing for businesses on the city’s north side, including the stretch along Plank Road that ran by his home near St. Gerard Catholic Church.

His first introduction to the occasionally rough-and-tumble world of Louisiana politics came as a newspaper delivery boy and page to Gov. Huey Long, his daughter said.

He retained a bit of the Kingfish’s affection for the little guy, said Genna Corsentino, who recalled traveling with her father and Earl Long to stump across the state.

Ambitious and hard-working, Corsentino’s leadership role in the United Steelworkers Union — which he served as business agent before running for City Council — helped launch his political career, Genna Corsentino said.

“He worked very hard for the little guy. He took care of working people,” Genna Corsentino said. “He used to work tirelessly for north Baton Rouge.”

Genna Corsentino said her father spent decades deeply immersed in Louisiana politics and his children grew up around judges, mayors and governors, including the late Woody Dumas and former Gov. Edwin Edwards.

“They were like my family growing up,” she said.

Corsentino unsuccessfully challenged then-four-term incumbent state Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins for the District 66 seat in 1987, promising to bring home state funds and public works for the district.

The next year, Corsentino’s political career came to an end when he was defeated by Johnnie Matthews in a dramatic 1988 election that saw four other Metro Council members turned out of office.

“He was a devoted public servant,” Genna Corsentino said. “If I had to describe my father in one sentence, that’s what I’d say.”

Corsentino was preceded in death by his wife, Cora, and is survived by his daughter and a son, Mike Corsentino. A funeral is planned for noon Thursday at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church.