Architectural Styles of New Orleans Homes

Architectural Styles of New Orleans

In addition to its traditional housing, New Orleans has some of the most unique types of homes and a local terminology to describe them.

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New Orleans Architectural Styles

The following are the most common:

Creole Cottage: Built from 1790-1850 and found mainly in the French Quarter and surrounding area. Cottages are single story, set at ground level. Steeply pitched roof. Symmetrical four-opening facade wall, set close to front property line. Made of stucco or wood exterior.

American Townhouse: Built from 1820-1850 these homes are primarily found in the Central Business District or Lower Garden District. A narrow three-story structure set near ground level. Facade wall on property line. Asymmetrical arrangement of facade openings, balcony on second floor. Exterior made of brick or stucco.

Creole Townhouse: Built primarily from 1788-mid-1800s may examples are found in the French Quarter and its surrounding neighborhoods. Two to four-story structure set at or near ground level. Asymmetrical arrangement of arched openings on facade wall set on property line. Iron balcony at second and sometimes third levels. Steeply pitched side-gabled roof often with multiple roof dormers. Brick or stucco exterior.

Center-Hall Cottage: Primarily constructed from 1803-1870. fine examples of this style of residence can be found in the Garden District, Uptown, Carrollton and elsewhere. One-and-a-half story house raised two to eight feet above ground on brick piers. Full-width front gallery framed by six columns supporting entablature. Five openings with front door in the center. Side-gabled roof, often broken by central dormer. Exterior made of wood.

Shotgun: Rectangular structure raised on brick piers. Most have a narrow front porch covered by a roof apron and supported by columns and brackets, often with lacey Victorian ornamentation. Primarily constructed between 1850-1910 and found throughout New Orleans, this quintessential New Orleans working-man's family home are a staple of its housing stock. These long and narrow homes, designed to fit onto the city's narrow lots, were built with connecting rooms and doors all in line with one another from front to rear of the residence and with the absence of interior common rooms such as a hallway. So named because it was said that you could shoot a shotgun from the front door and the bullet could travel through the length of the structure and exit the rear without striking a wall. Usually one-story, but there are many with a second story set at the rear of the house (called camelback).

Shotgun Double: A two-family dwelling of the same architectural style as a shotgun single, but with two side-by-side residences with a common center wall, usually mirror images of one another. Most have a shared front porch. May or may not share common steps leading to a shared front porch. It is not unusual to see a short dividing wall on the front porch to give each side of the porch some privacy from the adjoining residence.

Camelback: A shotgun-style house, but with a second story set at the rear of the house and can be seen represented in both shotgun single and double varieties.

Two-Story Double: A two story version of the regular shotgun double, but with a second story encompassing the entire second floor as opposed to a camelback with only a portion of a second floor in the rear.

Side Hall: Generally built in a rectangular shape like a shotgun-style home with connecting rooms, but with a side hall running the length of the home as a common element connecting the house together. Think of it as a shotgun house with a hallway on one side.

Side Gallery: Similar to a side hall, but with all of the rooms opening onto a open air covered gallery running the length of the home while all of the interior rooms connect to one another shotgun-style.

Double-Gallery House:A common architectural element found in New Orleans owing to the city's sea level elevation. Found in a wide variety of architectural styles, the first floor is generally an unfinished "basement" with steps leading to the second floor, or main living areas of the home. Found throughout the city, many have been converted into living space over time.

Raised Basement:Mostly built from 1820-1850 may examples can be found in the Lower Garden District, Garden District, Uptown, Esplanade Ridge. Two-story structure raised on low brick piers. Side-gabled or hipped roof. Structure set back from property line. Covered two-story galleries framed by columns supporting entablature. Asymmetrical arrangement of facade openings.

Other Resources in New Orleans Architectural Styles

New Orleans Houses & New Orleans Historic Architecture Guide

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