Benjamin Orleans got his health card just before the pandemic and was working construction jobs while waiting for his dream position in hospitality, his father said.
The 40-year-old enjoyed talking to anyone who would listen.
“He had a good gift for gab,” said Larry Orleans, 68. “He was the type of person who could sell ice to an Eskimo.”
Benjamin Orleans was fatally stabbed in an unprovoked attack Nov. 5 near the 2700 block of East Cedar Avenue. Witnesses told police that James Vaughn, 26, rode up on a bicycle and stabbed Orleans before riding off, according to a report from the Metropolitan Police Department.
Orleans was five blocks from his mother’s house when he was stabbed, his father said.
Orleans played hockey throughout high school in his hometown of Highland Park, Illinois. After a brief time living in Florida with his three children, Orleans moved to Las Vegas for a fresh start with his mother.
“There’s so many jobs in hospitality and room for growth,” Larry Orleans recalled his ex-wife telling their son.
Benjamin Orleans moved to Las Vegas and joined a cycling club, riding up to 300 miles a week. His father remembered the 5-foot-10-inch man having nearly no body fat.
While working odd jobs in construction and staying with friends, Orleans passed the test to get his health card. He was one step closer to a job in a Las Vegas casino or hotel when the pandemic hit, shutting the city down.
Before the pandemic, around 28 percent of the Las Vegas area’s labor market worked in leisure and hospitality, according to state and federal data. By April 2020, 33.3 percent of the valley was unemployed.
“Last time I talked to him he had a job in construction redoing apartments,” Orleans said. “It’s a life taken way too soon.”