Just a Jew. Named Mitch. Writing about his feelings.

Archive for October, 2010

Helping People in New Orleans

Posted by JewMitch on October 29, 2010

About a year after Katrina, my friend Nate approached me and asked if I wanted to go on a Jewish mission to New Orleans, to help rebuild houses for the victims.

“Do you know me at all?  That would involve both a Jewish organization and helping people – two of my least favorite things.”

“You don’t understand.  I’m in charge of this trip.  I handpicked almost all of the girls that are coming.”

“Aren’t they all Jewish though?”

“They don’t look it.  Plus, all you have to do is pay for airfare.  Food and hotel are free.”

“How far away is the hotel from Bourbon Street?”

“Walking distance.”

“Okay, I’m in.”

So the next thing I knew, I was on a plane with a bunch of Jews, heading to New Orleans to repaint houses and help boost the local economy by spending ridiculous amounts of money on alcohol.

The community service part of the trip was actually not bad – we mostly just scraped old paint off the walls of houses so that they could be re-painted. And knowing that this would make a good story to later tell girls on dates, made me feel good about helping out.  (“Did I ever tell you about the time that I volunteered in New Orleans after Katrina?”)

There was a bunch of Jewish stuff too, but as always, I spaced out during that part until it was time to hit the bars.

If you haven’t been drinking in New Orleans, and you enjoy drinking, I highly recommend it.  I don’t think there’s any other city in America that is so obviously designed for going on a bender. You can buy and consume alcohol everywhere, including on the streets.  Let me repeat that. They will sell you a 40 oz beer on the street (like buying a hot dog in nyc) and you can just walk around drinking it.  Bars don’t really close, there’s amazing live music everywhere you go, and the casinos are also nearby and open all night.  There’s none of that – “Oh what a fun night – let’s go to bed early to be fresh for sightseeing tomorrow”;  it’s more like, “Holy shit, we’re in New Orleans –  this city is on the brink of destruction – give me another hurricane now and don’t let me stop drinking because your economy directly depends on it!”

It was around 4am on our first night, when I found myself near black out drunk, buying a gyro in some place off Bourbon street.  At this point, my phone rang and it was my other buddy on the trip, Scott.

“Hey Mitch, you still out?”

“Of course. I’m just getting a gyro.”

“How did you find a gyro place at 4am in New Orleans?”

“I don’t know.  What’s up?”

“Just got back to the hotel and was thinking about coming out?  Do you know where you are specifically?”

“No.  Hey did Jeff go home with that chubby girl?”  (SIDENOTE: one of the guys on the trip had been hanging out earlier with the lone heavy girl on our trip; one of the few girls on the trip that had not be invited by Nate).

Then, in the background – I just hear this little high pitched whine noise, and then – in a hesitant, whimpery voice –  “Am I the chubby girl?”

It was then that I thought to ask Scott,  “Am I on speakerphone?”

Which of course, I was.

But before you pass judgment on me (which I’m sure you’ve already done), who is more to blame?  Me for saying what I did?  Or Scott for putting me on speakerphone at 4am and not telling me.  Because really?  I mean, it’s me.


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