We are thrilled to present Overture to the Cultural Season’s “Celebration of the Arts” on our cover for August! Thanks to gala co-chairs Linda Skidmore Forman and Margaret Mielke; honorary chairman Dr. Donald Boomgaarden, dean of Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts; and Lynn Skidmore, president of Overture to the Cultural Season for being our cover models thanks to everyone at Loyola for letting us photograph in their beautiful foyer. The gala dinner dance and auction will also feature live music performed by students and faculty from Loyola University’s College of Music and Fine Arts. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 821-9300.

We are all so sad about the Gulf oil disaster and the effect it’s having on the entire Gulf Coast. The Women of the Storm are producing a YouTube Video filmed in New Orleans featuring Sandra Bullock, Wendell Pierce, John Goodman and many others, explaining the plight of the Gulf Coast region and the effect of the oil spill on our fragile wetlands. We want as many people as we can to sign the petition that can be found at: RestoretheGulf.com, so when the WOS go back to D.C., we have widespread support from all over the nation to restore our coast from Texas to Florida. This is how you can make a difference: Please sign the petition and pass it on to friends in other states. Many thanks to Peter Mayer Advertising for tackling this project pro-bono!

We have an action-packed issue. Our annual wedding feature highlights six fabulous local weddings, along with the beautiful vintage wedding of Kay and Tim Favrot. Thanks to all of our brides and grooms!

What’s Hot features back-to-school; you’ll find great ideas for every child from kindergarten on up to college.

Definitely look to one of our favorite features, Shopping on Metairie Road, for everything including clothing, jewelry, food and linens and lots more from all of your favorite stores.

New to New Orleans, the taste of Pinkberry has spawned lines around the block. Lesser-known is Pinkberry Catering, which allows customers to have the one-of-a-kind Pinkberry experience brought to them, along with the delicious yogurt, fresh, high quality toppings and outstanding customer service. Pinkberry also has a portable yogurt machine that can be brought out for large events. Visit 5601 Magazine St., or, opening this month, 300 Canal St.; or call 899-4260.

Unique Weddings in New Orleans strives to produces exceptional, never “cookie-cutter” weddings and events, says owner Michele Adams. Her knowledge and cutting-edge approach will introduce you to New Orleans’ best wedding offerings and its most talented musicians, photographers and florists, she says. Adams enjoys expressing her creative ideas and talents while incorporating each bride’s individual style; reach her by calling 305-3522 or visiting uniqueweddingsinneworleans.com.

Ashley Merlin has a fabulous new book: Statuesque New Orleans. Go to any bookstore and ask for it; you won’t be disappointed!

Kudos to everyone who’s trying to make a difference for those people affected by the oil spill: Jimmy Buffet, Allen Toussaint, Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, our chefs, our local officials – especially Billy Nungesser – Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper and everyone who’s spreading the word to visit the Gulf Coast and buy our seafood – it’s safe! Have a great end of summer and go to beaches, eat out in a restaurant and support whatever local businesses you can!

By the way, while you’re shopping, please mention you saw your favorite boutique’s ad in St. Charles Avenue. We love our advertisers and want to support these wonderful local businesses!