Hello, and welcome to the Community!

The Community section, that is, the part of The Advocate that focuses on the New Orleans area and our special, vibrant culture.

Sure, it’s essential to report the government and police news every day. The Advocate’s daily New Orleans edition has that covered.

But now, the daily newspaper is building on its success in our area by adding this weekly section for features, society events, school news, neighborhood happenings and more.

We’ll have profiles of the people who are making a difference in our community, like today’s Q and A with Saints running back Pierre Thomas on his holiday toy drive for Children’s Hospital.

We’ll have neighborhood columns by Eva Jacob Barkoff, in Jefferson Parish, and Karen Baker, in St. Tammany. These women, longtime friends and colleagues of mine, have years of experience covering the communities they love.

We won’t neglect the nightlife, with society event coverage and party shots by Roberta Grove.

Every week we’ll also list events at the libraries and health happenings.

And, because I’m an animal lover and I suspect you are too, we’ll feature an animal who needs a home, with advice on animal welfare from Animal Rescue of New Orleans.

We’ll tell the stories of the people who make this city great: the culture-bearers; the idealists who came to gut houses after Hurricane Katrina and never left; the active senior citizens, the fun-loving teens and everyone in between.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

We need your help.

We’re not going to find out about our community’s special news unless you tell us. We need your photos, your news releases and your story ideas.

Email photos and news tips to me at asisco@theadvocate.com. If you have questions, call me at our New Orleans office, (504) 202-1051.

Our goal is to make this section a mirror of our special community — with all its quirks and sparkles.

Tulane family concert

It’s a busy week with lots of activities. One of the great things about New Orleans is that you usually don’t have to go very far to find something entertaining, enriching or enthralling.

Qualifying in every category, Tulane University will host a free family concert of “Peter and the Wolf” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Dixon Hall. The production is recommended for children 5 and older.

The concert features the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward, pianist James Kelly and guest actor Michael Boudewyns.

For more information call Sara Valentine at (504) 314-7749.

Market offers variety

Gifts for the rest of us? Ninety local vendors will sell food, produce, art, jewelry and collectibles at the holiday-themed market on Freret Street on Saturday.

There will be pet adoptions, a used gift exchange and “feats of strength” by the Big Easy Rollergirls, along with live music at noon by Tin Men.

Take a stroll and admire this neighborhood, which has been thriving due to a revitalization effort since the storm.

Share DIY skills

It’s a do-it-yourselfer’s repair-adise!

NOLA Timebank holds a “Fix Mix” from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Rosa Keller Community Center, 4300 S. Broad St., New Orleans.

The Timebank connects neighbors with skills to help one another. At the fix mix, specialists will show residents how to make simple repairs to items such as clothes, furniture, lamps, crockery, costume jewelry and toys.

Materials and tools will be available. Reference books on repairs and do-it-yourself projects will be on hand as well.

The event is free, and no reservation is required.

Specialists such as seamstresses, carpenters and lamp writing technicians will earn credits toward other services they can access in the time bank.

For more, go to http://www.nolatimebank.org.

Senior stretching, fitness

The home stretch for seniors: The New Orleans Ballet Association offers classes in senior fitness and stretching on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the St. Bernard NORDC center, 1500 Lafreniere St., Gentilly.

Registration is ongoing; sign up any time.

Stretch class, featuring dance, yoga and calisthenics, is at 9:30 a.m.

Fitness class in dance, cardiovascular workout and calisthenics is at 10:30 a.m.

For more information, call Millette White at (504) 522.0996.

Annette Sisco is the Community section editor. She can be reached at asisco@theadvocate.com or (504) 202-1051.