September in New Orleans means a lot of things, including the busiest period of hurricane activity and, for Saints fans, the high point of optimism (sometimes too high).

It’s also the time when galleries across the city, and especially on the downriver side of the French Quarter, shake off the summer slack and get down to the serious business of showing art: A strong concentration of shows kicking off during this month’s Second Saturday openings on Sept. 12 is a clear indication that the downtown art scene is back in full swing.

In one of the most anticipated exhibits of the new season, a group show at Barrister’s Gallery (2331 St. Claude Ave.) will feature Jon Boles’ darkly humorous, politically tinged drawings along with Beau von Hoffacker’s portraits of young men caught up in the spiral of New Orleans street crime as both perpetrators and victims.

The portraits are made of brass, copper and gunpowder, and are based on social media photos originally posted by the subjects themselves.

And in the gallery’s grotto space, Dan Tague will be working on an ongoing piece during and after regular gallery hours: Tague’s “NO COMPLY” is an installation described as “inspired by ’80’s skateboard culture: the discorded vibrant color schemes, the political awareness and rebellious attitude of the music, and tons of graphics illustrating adolescent angst.”

Further down St. Claude, another group show at the Antenna Gallery (3718 St. Claude) will include work by five Atlanta-based artists selected by the Dashboard “experimental curatorial agency” as part of a two-year residency program.

The multimedia selections on view will include an installation by Michael Oliveri, an installation and video by Branden Collins & Madeline Moore, three-dimensional objects by Kirsten Mitchell (aka Kiki Blood), and an opening-night performance by Erik Thurmond.

Other notable downtown openings on Sept. 12 include Zack Smith’s photographs of fellow Louisiana artists at the Jazz and Heritage Foundation (1205 N. Rampart); abstract paintings by Mary Rooney at Staple Goods (1340 St. Roch); paintings exploring the “paradox of mortality” by Jessica Goldfinch at the UNO St. Claude Gallery (2429 St. Claude); and photo montages by India Jacobs, ceramics by Jeffrey Thurston, drawings by Kyle Bravo, and mixed-media pieces by Kelly A. Mueller at The Front (4100 St. Claude).

It should be more than enough to get your mind off any pending tropical disturbances this month, at least for an evening.

And maybe even off that shaky Saints defense.