The long humid days, the daily thunderstorms, snowballs and sweat and seersucker: I am one of the rare people who thrives on New Orleans summers. A delicate Southern flower, I cannot abide cold winters –– and apparently it’s genetic: My 3-year-old daughter, Ruby, walked outside on the first slightly cool day of the year and immediately hugged herself, rubbed her arms and declared, “Oh, my Jesus, Mom –– it’s freezing!” I’m ashamed of the off-color and blasphemous vocabulary I’m unwittingly passing on to her, but I’m thrilled that she shares my definition of freezing: anything below 80 degrees.

Despite my distaste for brisk weather, I have to admit that the autumn and winter are lovely in New Orleans, full of festivities, functions and of course football. To help you make the most of the seasons, we have four fabulous table settings with merchandise from local stores; from football parties to New Year’s brunches, they are sure to inspire even the most burned-out host or hostess and impress even the most jaded guest.

Although spring is typically the season associated with rebirth, here in New Orleans, we enjoy it all year long. We’re showcasing the winners of the third annual Renaissance Awards, which we give in conjunction with the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans to honor home- and business owners who renovated their properties with an eye toward historical integrity. We also feature Kendall Winingder’s sleek town house in the Central Business District, a former storage facility that was recently honored by the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects in the category of adaptive reuse. Given the instant gratification mindset that is so prevalent these days, it’s more important than ever to give credit to people who stop, think and do things the right way, not throwing out precious historic artifacts in favor of mass-produced crap.

We’re also honoring another group of people who stop, think and do things the right way: our third annual class of Design Masters. In categories ranging from kitchen and bath design to art and architecture, we honor la crème de la crème of New Orleans home and garden design. Our Design Masters would still be talented if they lived in, say, Cleveland –– but they are worthy of special praise because they have tailored what they do to our uniquely quirky city: its aesthetics, its sensibilities, its climate.

Finally, we have a sneak peek at the homes on the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans’ Holiday Home Tour. For decades, this tour has been a holiday mainstay, and we’re giving you a chance to see them before they’re in their holiday dress.

This issue covers food, décor, real estate, entertaining and more, but the one theme that resonates, the one common thread on every page, is the love and pride we have for our city, our traditions, our people and our history.

And that, unlike my filthy mouth, is one thing that I am most assuredly pleased to be passing along to my daughter.