It’s officially the holidays and New Orleans is bustling with a jam-packed event calendar and busy, twinkling streets. Shops are filled with customers and it’s once again tough to find a reservation at so many of our fantastic restaurants – both established and new to the scene. 

We could not be more thrilled to bring you Avenue’s 2022 Activists of the Year. Since its fifth year, the magazine has honored local activists every December. This year’s class is comprised of a group of New Orleans’ most devoted philanthropists who work tirelessly to make our town and community better. Read more about Ashlye Keaton, Ernest Johnson, David Sherman, Claire Thriffiley and Isaac Toups and the incredible work they have done in our feature by Sue Strachan. We are certain you will walk away inspired.

This month’s Change Maker is Essence Banks, founder and president of Heart N Hands. After a frightening experience with heart disease as a young woman, Banks founded the Heart N Hands organization to focus on advocacy work and education for other young women and girls. As Banks explains and experienced personally, an estimated 80 percent of heart disease is preventable by making lifestyle changes. 

With so much on our plates this time of year (both literally and figuratively), it easy to become overwhelmed by the thought of holiday gifting. Have no fear, our intrepid style and product guru Amy Gabriel has curated a unique and thoughtful gift guide incorporating fabulous finds from local shops.

Jenny Vorhoff has scoured town to find the most thoughtful gifts to delight even the most discerning host. And the sparkling baubles in this month’s What’s Hot will reflect directly from our pages deep into your eyes as you admire the gorgeous pieces we spotlight from local shops. There is truly something for everyone on your list in this issue. 

Lastly, Jyl Benson explores the unique history of Champagne with tips from experts at Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits on how best to serve and pair. It’s time to raise a glass.

We hope you enjoy the issue. All of us at Avenue wish you and yours a safe, magical and healthy holiday season filled with cheer.

Andymyersignature

Andy Myer, Editor


Merry and Bright
Photograph by Theresa Cassagne

On the Cover

Avenue’s 2022 Activists of the year: (from left) Ernest Johnson, Ashlye Keaton, David Sherman, Claire Thriffiley and Isaac Toups.

Each year, the editorial staff at Avenue recognizes local activists and their impact on the New Orleans community. For some, this extends to giving back to the community and making a difference through their work, nonprofit organizations, or personal efforts. Learn more about these important locals who help their fellow man and make New Orleans a better place in our feature on pg. 18.