Franklin Sirmans’s Guide to New Orleans, Louisiana

The curator of Contemporary Art at LACMA steers clear of tourist traps

FranklinSirmans“There is no more American city than New Orleans,” says Sirmans. “At the same time it’s called the northernmost city of the Caribbean—almost as if it were not a part of the United States.” The French Quarter is too touristy for Sirmans, who tends to stay in the warehouse district, on the outskirts of Canal Street. If you have only one day here, Sirmans advises, “touch on the things that make the city tick: food, music, performance. Make sure to have lunch somewhere special, like at Dooky Chase’s. They have a terrific Southern buffet. Short on time? Get a po’boy at Liuzza’s.” He suggests catching a Second Line parade, a ritual based on a funeral tradition that takes place on most Sundays. For music after dark, he says, there’s Frenchman Street, and daytime pleasures include these art institutions:

theessentials_masa_tNew Orleans Museum of Art: “There’s a room filled with boxes and collages by Joseph Cornell.”

theessentials_masa_tBackstreet Cultural Museum: “Look for pieces by Big Chief Victor Harris.”

theessentials_masa_t Le Musée de f.p.c.: “The mid-19th-century furniture by Dutreuil Barjon is deliciously beautiful.”


Profile photograph courtesy Sirmans

This story is part of Los Angeles magazine’s March 2015 Great Getaways package