Forget April. In New Orleans, September is the cruelest month.

School is in session, football is back and we can almost see the glory days of autumn ahead. But yet we’re still stuck in the thick of it, with the hottest weather and the greatest risk of hurricanes upon us. Nerves are frayed, patience is thin. If you need a break, it turns out the local restaurants do too.

“September is the new August,” said Wendy Waren, vice president of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. “When we looked at the numbers month to month, September is when (restaurants) need a boost the most.”

That’s why a few years back the group chose September as the time to organize it’s now-annual restaurant week promotion. Dubbed “We Live To Eat,” the campaign is meant up be a rallying cry for New Orleanians to make a special restaurant visit, and it comes with special deals.

More than 50 restaurants are participating in the We Live To Eat this year with prix fixe menus served Sept. 8-14. At each restaurant, two-course lunch is $20 or less and three-course dinner is $39 or less. This year, many of the restaurants are specifically including dishes designed to be lighter on these menus as well.

The list of participating restaurants this year includes many of the heavy hitters around town, like Commander’s Palace, August, Emeril’s, Le Foret and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Old classics including Antoine’s, Arnaud’s and Galatoire’s are on the roster, as are more casual spots, like Drago’s, Booty’s Street Food in the Bywater and Mizado Cocina. You can see them all at welivetoeatnola.com.

The LRA hosts a public preview party for Restaurant Week tonight, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Chicory events space (610 S. Peters St.). Tickets are $25 and include samples of dishes from Restaurant Week participants, wine and beer from NOLA Brewing and Stella Artois. Get tickets in advance at welivetoeatnola.com/events

The “We Live To Eat” slogan channels a popular sentiment around town. It does seem like New Orleans lives to eat, and if we can make it through the next few weeks we’ll all be living a little more comfortably too. In the meantime, these restaurant deals await if you want to mark the small victory of making it another day closer to autumn.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.