Like New Orleans, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights is steeped in history and tradition. As a fourth generation family-owned company, Bevolo exudes magnificent old world style in the modern day city that has fueled its aesthetic for over seven decades. As the oldest and largest continuously-operating gas light manufacturer in the country, Bevolo brings an unrivaled commitment to New Orleans, shining bright in the French Quarter and supporting our local economy. The iconic lanterns and lights are shipped all over the world, but each and every one is handmade locally by master craftsmen passionate about this time-honored art form.
In 1945, Andrew Bevolo, Sr., a skilled metal worker, encountered the noted Louisiana architect, A. Hays Town, and together they created the original French Quarter lantern. Years of experience at Ford, Sikorsky, and Higgins in the automobile, aviation, and landing craft industries armed Mr. Bevolo with unmatched technical expertise. His design, crafted in American-sourced copper with hand-riveted rather than soldered joints, revolutionized the production of exterior lighting. Oxidized to a beautiful caramel hue, his lanterns were built to last a lifetime and a new business was born in the French Quarter.
A visit to the Royal Street showrooms and museum is a quintessential New Orleans experience like no other. Over 40 open flame lanterns adorn an exposed brick wall leading from the street to the romantic courtyard to the living museum in the heart of the French Quarter. Open for the public to enjoy, stepping into Bevolo is as authentic to our beloved city as it gets. The Exchange Alley workshop is filled with memorabilia and original work tables illuminating the company's fascinating history, as well as notes about Mr. Bevolo's unique contributions to the industry. Talented coppersmiths, working with the purest sheets of metal, are at work and happy to answer questions as they share their knowledge. You can even rent this beautiful venue for private parties and special events. In an increasingly high-tech world, it is a rare treat to have access to such a charming and lovingly-preserved piece of the Quarter's cultural history.
From the most historically accurate to recent contemporary creations, there are hundreds of lighting styles to choose from. Of course, the original design is far and away the most popular, but stainless steel and custom hand-welded yokes, brackets, and mounts are also offered. The same goes for their vast array of interior lighting presented in one of the shops that flanks the main showroom. Chandeliers, sconces, and antique courtyard accessories all reflect the same impeccable quality. Their other jewel box of a shop features a carefully curated display of vibrant mid-century modern pendants and lights. It's a colorful departure from the traditional lanterns, but the love of craft and artistry is exactly the same. The collection of vintage Blenko and Murano hand-blown glass lamps, handmade shades, and one of a kind finials celebrates the Bevolo love for detail and authenticity.
No other exterior lighting fixture on the market can hold a candle to the quality, patina, and craftsmanship of a Bevolo light. The French Quarter lantern is elegant and timeless, and few things are as alluring as the burnished glow of a gas lit flame. Not just made in America, these pieces are made right here in the heart of New Orleans.
This article appeared in the September 2019 issue of Adore.