Cover photo by Sara Essex Bradley.

Our October cover story explores the past through the eyes of a passionate collector

The house of Jeremy Simien and his family is covered in interesting finds. From antique portraits of those long-forgotten to silver cups from houses across the South to pieces of broken china uncovered in New Orleans neighborhoods, the collection is as diverse as it is filled with stories. And it’s those stories that Simien is working to make known.

While much of his collection finds its home—at least temporarily—in Simien’s family home in the Country Club of Louisiana, he is working to ensure these treasures are not just preserved for future generations, but that the stories that underlie each piece are uncovered and shared with the world.

One of Simien’s most storied worksthe 19th century painting Bélizaire and the Frey Childrenfinds a new home, outside of the Country Club, on the wall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing. The painting, which was restored to reveal an enslaved teenager alongside a white family, was Simien’s passion project, driving him to uncover the story of this long-forgotten child on the search to learn his name.

Dive into Simien’s collection and the story of Bélizaire in the October issue, on newsstands now.