CityLab Daily: The Design History of New Orleans’ Shotgun Houses

Nathan Law

Privacy not included: In our latest installment of the Iconic Home Design series, Kriston Capps takes us to New Orleans, an architectural marvel filled with elaborate mansions and quaint cottages. One of the more modest fixtures of the Crescent City are shotgun homes, so named because, in theory, you could fire birdshot from […]

Privacy not included: In our latest installment of the Iconic Home Design series, Kriston Capps takes us to New Orleans, an architectural marvel filled with elaborate mansions and quaint cottages. One of the more modest fixtures of the Crescent City are shotgun homes, so named because, in theory, you could fire birdshot from the front door through the back door without hitting a wall. The houses feature a narrow and elongated layout, with one room leading right to the next.

relates to CityLab Daily: The Design History of New Orleans’ Shotgun Houses

Tracing how shotgun homes came to be so ubiquitous is complicated. According to one historian, the earliest structures were built during a turning point in the Atlantic slave trade, when a sudden influx of freed and enslaved Black people following the 1804 Haitian Revolution created a housing shortage in New Orleans. The houses have faced devastating hurricanes and shifts in architectural preference that led to demolition and neglect. Still, thousands of these homes exist today — many with modern additions like hallways, closets and even bathrooms. Today on CityLab: In New Orleans, the Shotgun House Goes a Long Way Back

-Linda Poon

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