As a designer, traveling to a new city is one of the best ways to find design inspiration. Luis and I had the immense pleasure of visiting New Orleans recently and we were thoroughly impressed with all that we saw and experienced.

We perused all the fabulous antique stores, toured the historic Garden District, listened to music, and even built in time to visit a vendor, Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights, who specializes in hand-made open flame copper lanterns.

Bevolo lanterns grace not only New Orleans Historic Landmarks, such as The Cabildo, Jackson Square, and Brennan’s Restaurant, they have also been sold to customers in all 50 states and over 50 countries. Fueled by the energy of a truly unique city, the flickering of the French Quarter lanterns cast a romantic glow on a true and lasting art form, thanks to the Bevolo family.

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We incorporated Bevolo’s timeless gas lanterns in one of our favorite residential projects. Our client’s home features Spanish colonial influences and warm stone work that just begged to be paired with the elegance of a Bevolo lantern. During our visit we were excited to discover they are now offering hand-made table lamps. We can’t wait to incorporate these lights in fun, unexpected ways.

Another highlight of our trip was a visit to the Pontchartrain Hotel. Located in the Garden District of New Orleans, the Pontchartrain Hotel is a one-of-a-kind, luxury hotel. This historic circa-1927, 14-story architectural gem is an interior designer’s delight.  Our dinner in their Caribbean Room restaurant was one of our favorites in New Orleans. The ambience and decor were an added bonus. The decor was heavily influenced by the Caribbean and truly made us feel like we were there.

One of our favorite breakfasts took place at Arnaud’s, a New Orleans landmark. The green, black and red entry way harkens back to the restaurant’s 1918 founding and transports you to an earlier time of elegance and elevated design. The French 75 bar, housed within the restaurant, is particularly memorable, with its Art Deco influences and delicious cocktails.

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Besides the city’s incredible design, we were impressed with its hospitality.  Southern hospitality is genuine, welcoming and makes a thoughtfully designed room one hundred times better. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton in the French Quarter, just steps away from Jackson Square and Cafe du Monde. The hotel itself is housed within the 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building, and it really does feel like a historic mansion. The service was unparalleled and set a new standard for us, that we hope to replicate in our own business. And of course, outside of the hotel everyone we encountered really took the time to talk to us, find out why we were visiting, and offered their favorite local spots to visit.

Our whirlwind visit really showed us  just how eclectic the style of the city is, which sets the stage for an incredible and contagious vibe. You can hear music in the streets, smell delicious food on the air, and even the humidity holds you like a warm embrace. The flickering lanterns in the French Quarter immerse you in a Southern Gothic atmosphere and the large verandas and open windows are nearly as welcoming as the people themselves. New Orleans has been on our bucket list for years, and we’re so thankful we had the chance to visit. We’ll definitely be back!

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