Louisiana architecture primer


Acadian (or Cajun)
Dating as far back as the 17th century, these homes typically consist of two or three rooms in a square frame, with a narrow front porch and multiple doors on the front facade that can be opened for better ventilation during hot, humid weather. To protect them from flood waters, these houses were often built on blocks of cypress wood or brick columns that raise them two feet off the ground.

Meaning "before war" in Latin, Antebellum is a catch-all to describe homes built in the Greek Revival, Classical Revival or Federal style before the U.S. Civil War. Often associated with plantation houses, Antebellum's hallmarks include a symmetrical facade with evenly spaced windows and Greek
pillars, a covered porch and balcony and a central entryway with a grand staircase.

Creole Cottage
Blending a variety of French and Spanish colonial influences, the Creole Cottage became the dominant residential structure in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi beginning in the late 18th century. Its hallmarks are a high gabled roof, the ridge of which runs parallel to the street, often with a chimney at its center. Early examples often have two rooms that open directly on to the front porch. In the 1820s and '30s, the style evolved to include a large central hall and Greek Revival architectural flourishes. In New Orleans, Creole cottages are typically built to the edge of the property line and have no front porches.

Creole Townhouse
Dating from the late 18th through the mid-19th century, these buildings provide New Orleans' French Quarter and its neighboring Fauborg Marigny district with their signature style. They're typically three-story structures built to the edge of the property line with ornate wrought iron balconies (or galleries) supported by columns that run the length of the building, and steeply pitched, side-gabled roofs with several protruding dormer windows. The first floors are often occupied by retail tenants, while the upstairs are divided into apartments.

Shotgun Houses
A popular style of low-income housing in the American South from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, these are narrow structures, typically no more than 12 feet wide, that consist of a row of rooms stacked one behind another under a gabled roof, and a small front porch. Their name comes from the observation that one could open the doors and fire a shotgun clean through the front of the house and out the back.
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