By LAWRENCE TAN
While Italian lighting companies have been coming up with innovative designs to light up and accentuate modern living spaces, one American company in New Orleans’ French Quarter has been making lamps that hark back to the days of Thomas Edison.
And it was an Italian immigrant, Andrew Bevolo, Sr., who in 1945 came to New Orleans in search of work who revived this traditional craft. From a previous stint building boats for use during World War II, Bevolo Sr. started Bevolo Metal Crafts, repairing street lights and old English lanterns.
A chance encounter with architect A. Hays Town led to a blossoming partnership and the birth of the Original French Quarter Lantern, which traced its architectural roots to early 17th century Europe.
These lamps are now a ubiquitous sight in New Orleans, adorning some of the finest restaurants, hotels and other landmarks in the city. They will eventually find their way into establishments across the country, and in 28 other countries as a result of expansion plans under the leadership of the son-and-grandson team of Jim and Drew Bevolo.
Today, the family’s third generation now runs the company, which still occupies the same building since its founding, and using the same hand-riveting techniques and copper aging process that were passed down from Bevolo Sr., to craft traditional lighting fixtures.