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Architecture Styles: The Creole Townhouse

In addition to its thriving music scene, finger-licking grub, and propensity towards too much fun, New Orleans architecture is what makes it one of America's most unique cities. In other hoods, brand new, $20 million manses are coveted by celebrities and money makers alike. In New Orleans, where you'll find at least six distinct styles of architecture, old homes are the truest treasures.

One of these styles, and perhaps the most iconic, is the Creole Townhouse, which you'll find scattered throughout the narrow streets of NOLA's historic Vieux Carré in the French Quarter, as well as the nearby Faubourg Marigny. These brick or stucco structures, marked by lacy wrought-iron balconies, courtyards, thick walls, and arcades, were built to replace many of the city's wooden buildings that burned in the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788. While their balconies are go-to haunts for bead-throwing tourists and swarms of late-night revelers, they're also oft painted and photographed by visitors and locals alike, and are a keen venue for a green thumb's display of ivy, bromelaids, begonias, and ferns. In most cases, the facade of the building brushes up against the property line, leaving room for privacy (and parties) in interior courtyards not uncommonly decorated with flowing fountains. Creole townhouses are also built with steeply pitched roofs, side gabling, and several roof dormers.


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