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Dining for a cause 

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  On Thursday, July 17, all you have to do to help make a difference in the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS is go out to eat at one of nearly 70 New Orleans area restaurants.

  The NO/AIDS Task Force's (2601 Tulane Ave., Suite 500, 504-821-2601) Dining Out for Life (www.noaidstaskforce.org/events/dfl) benefit is an entire day in which a percentage of a participating restaurant's proceeds (most pledge 25 percent) are donated to support the Task Force. The event raises about $80,000 annually for the Task Force, which has been providing medical care, testing, prevention programs, housing services, meals, access to a food pantry, peer support and behavioral health for 30 years to men, women and families whose lives have been affected by HIV/ AIDS.

  Participating restaurant and bars include Booty's Street Food (800 Louisa St., 504-266-2887; www.bootysnola.com), Crescent Pie and Sausage Co. (4400 Banks St., 504-482-2426; www.crescentpieandsausage.com), Cafe Minh (4139 Canal St., 504-482-6266; www.cafeminh.com), Liberty's Kitchen (422 S. Broad St., 504-822-4011; www.libertyskitchen.org), Mariza (2900 Chartres St., 504-598-5700; www.marizaneworleans.com), Mark Twain's Pizza Landing (2035 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-832-8032; www.marktwainspizza.com), Short Stop Po-Boys (119 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 504-885-4572; www.shortstoppoboysno.com), Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine (923 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-836-6859; www.facebook.com/tajnola), Vega Tapas Cafe (2051 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-836-2007; www.vegatapascafe.com) and many others.

  Patrons also can ask their server for a donation envelope and donate extra cash, for which they'll be entered into a drawing to win a two-night stay at the Windsor Court Hotel (300 Gravier St., 504-523-6000; www.windsorcourthotel.com).

  Louisiana consistently ranks in the top 10 states for estimated HIV/AIDS rates.

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