Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Strolling through New Orlean's French Quarter can result in a sensory overload of smells, sounds, sights, and uneven sidewalks; on top of store after store filled the tourist gadgets or antiques, or world-class pralines. Then suddenly a visitor realizes there are beautiful gas lanterns with flickering flames on virtually every business in the Quarter.

A close look at these lanterns will reveal that most have the same manufacturer's name, Bevolo. A New Orleans recommended shopping list suggests a visit to the Bevolo company stores as one of the sites in the city, while designers and visitors blog about the beautiful lanterns. A simple Pinterest search and we find even more photos of lanterns from this historic company.

Bevolo lanterns have become iconic in the south, and probably beyond. Although a legendary architect's name is intertwined with the company history, I have not found substantial proof the stories are accurate. All I know is A. Hays Town used Bevolo lanterns on some of his homes. The courtyard at Charleston's fabulous 0 (Zero) George Street Inn is also home to Bevolo gas lanterns.

When I speak to lighting salesmen from other stores or companies, I get one of two responses after telling them I'm looking at Bevolo exterior lights. Either they stop trying to sell me exterior lights, or they try to convince me their lights are comparable.

Property of Bevelo
This week I visited a small lighting store that has a huge clearance sign on the front of the building, and it will probably be my last visit. The store was filled with beautiful fans, chandeliers, sconces, and exterior lanterns. As one of the owners and I were visiting, I asked her how a specific brand of lanterns compared to Bevolo. I noticed her nose began to wrinkle a bit as she rambled about having worked at Bevolo in the past, and how Andrew Bevolo, Sr and A. Hays Town never actually knew each other. Yet, she never answered my question about how the lights in her store compare to Bevolo. She didn't know the warranty of the lanterns she was selling, wasn't sure about the brand of a ceiling fan I looked at; then she was literally saved by the bell. She excused herself to answer the phone and never returned. I was left alone to wonder the small space at my leisure and enjoy the beautiful lighting.

Am I supposed to infer that other brands can't compare to Bevolo? Or was this particular lady just not a great salesperson and my questions were frustrating her? I guess I'll never know.

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