Walking around New Orleans, you might have the feeling that you can’t get enough of the city’s gas lights. This, then, is the place for you. The Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights Museum and Showroom, offers a glimpse into the history of gas lamps and offers a unique opportunity to see artisans at work.
Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights has been making hand-made lanterns in the heart of the French Quarter since 1945, and today is the largest manufacturer of these open-flame copper lanterns in the world. The company was founded by Andrew Bevolo, Sr., who did metalwork for manufacturing companies like Ford, Sikorsky Aircraft, and Higgins Industries.
Soon after the end of World War II, Bevolo Sr. started Bevolo Metal Crafts, which took on jobs that ranged from chandelier repair to medical equipment fabrication. A number of streetlights were brought to Bevolo for repair, made difficult by metal weakened by the soldering process. Working with Louisiana architect A. Hays Town, Bevolo developed a new lantern style that used rivets, rather than solder, to join the metal pieces. That was the first French Quarter Lamp, a design that can now be found all over the French Quarter and Garden District in New Orleans.
These copper lanterns are still made by hand at the Bevolo workshop. Among the antique fixtures, old worktables, and vintage memorabilia, you’ll find contemporary lamp makers absorbed in their craft.