December 2006Chef Gerard Maras, Bev and Table One Brasserie co-owner Tarek Tay for “Dine Out for Charity.” Each month, the restaurant will choose a charity to donate funds to, and on Dec. 20, Children’s Hospital will receive 20 percent of day’s proceeds. And, every guest who brings a wrapped children’s gift will receive a free glass of wine. For information or a reservation, call 872-9035. Table One is located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Magazine Street.

The magazine is thrilled to present the NO/AIDS Task Force’s “Art Against AIDS” on the December cover—not only because it’s a great event, but this year marks its 20th anniversary. The event is Dec. 9 at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans and will feature food, entertainment and of course, fabulous art and decorations for sale or for auction. Thanks to honorary chairs Bryan Batt and Ti Martin, event chair Tony Leggio, and past art chairs Becky Gottsegen and Arthur Roger, all of whom will make this year’s party one of the best ever!

The holidays are definitely here, and a great way to start the season is to visit the Royal Sonesta Hotel, which has been decorated inside and out by Blaine Kern Jr.’s Mardi Gras Productions. In addition to the marvelous décor, the Royal Teddy Bear Tea is Dec. 16 to 23, 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Your child can have their picture taken with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus will tell stories and they can join in a parade. Christmas Day brunch is a must and the Holiday buffet starts on Dec. 18. Other seasonal activities include “Celebration in the Oaks” in City Park, which is up all month, and the Preservation Resource Center’s “Holiday Home Tour,” Dec. 9 and 10.

Looking for the perfect gift? Check out the Luxury Gift Guide and What’s Hot, which features incredible jewelry. A great gift any time is Thomas Laird’s new book, “The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama.”

“You might think that talking with the Dalai Lama about the last 1,300 years of Tibetan history would be dry and boring. But he was always laughing, and making me laugh, so our conversation and the book came out of it. It’s just like having a great conversation with your favorite grandfather.” Check the newspaper for book signings in town—or head over to your favorite bookstore and buy a copy or two.

Thanks to all of you who came to our “Activists of the Year” party on Nov. 14 to honor Fran Villere, Bill Goldring and Monica Ponoroff for 2005 and Barbara Bush, Dr. Stephen Hales and Ben Johnson for 2006. And more kudos to Martin Lawrence Gallery, Joel catering, Republic Beverage Co. and artist Maurice Alvarado—who made the dazzling award—for helping make the party so fun and inspiring.

I also want to salute Emeril and Alden Lagasse who raised $2.5 million at “Carnivale du Vin” for children’s charities in New Orleans. They have also promised to support our city for the next five years—thanks Emeril and Alden! Also, hats off to all of you who are bringing attention to our beautiful city, including the National Association of Realtors, who brought 30,000 people to town who painted, planted and worked on Habitat for Humanity houses! Our city will be great again—thanks to all of you!