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Architecture Styles: The Shotgun House

The Creole Townhouse isn't the only architecture style the world should thank New Orleans for. The Shotgun was also developed in the Louisiana city between 1850 and 1910, and is the predominant type of house there. A Shotgun is a long, narrow rectangular structure, usually no more than 12 feet wide with doors opposite each other at both ends. Each of its three to five rooms open onto the next with no hallways to beget privacy. The Shotgun gets its name, legend has it, from the saying that a shotgun blast at the front door could pass uninterrupted through all the rooms to the back. To hear more about Shotguns,

The structure is typically a one-story house raised 2 to 8 feet above ground on brick piers, and also features a narrow front porch covered by a roof apron and supported by columns and lacy, Victorian jigsaw brackets. There are several variations of this style, including the Double-barrel Shotgun, the Camelback, and the Double Width Shotgun. Double-barrel Shotguns are basically duplexes, or two separate Shotgun houses sharing a single, central wall to allow more houses to be built in an area. The Camelback is a Shotgun with a second story built onto the rear of the house. A Double Width Shotgun is a single structure that's twice the width of a normal Shotgun.

tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I live in a shotgun here, and it's definitely a fun style if you live by yourself or with a significant other. Otherwise the lack of closeable doors might be a problem :)
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i love the detail on the front of the house. i always think of 'flip that house' when i see these - and i think that it would be cool to have this style.
krilo krilo 9 years
New Orleans is one of my very favorite cities. Its built heritage is amazing, and the people there are unlike those in any other place. The shotgun is actually a house "type," not a style. But it's a wonderful type, nonetheless! The "style" of this particular house is Folk Victorian, which is depicted in the lace porch embellishments, turned porch posts, and gable vergeboard. These details aren't necessarily on all shotguns, but many houses of this type do feature these elements. Anyhow, I love the NOLA articles/discussions. Keep up the good work--and great pic!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
is that style really called that? i had no idea! i like the facad of the house in the picture. i don't think i'd like this kind of house though. my apartment is sort of narrow and long. kind of annoying
emalove emalove 9 years
It's pretty cute!
tiabia tiabia 9 years
What a wonderful site to see!!! The beauty and economical value of the "shotgun" house!!! They are equivalent to the brownstones of the East Coast!!! Full of function, history and adding a special city-made quality!!! Gotta love New Orleans!!!
honkytonk honkytonk 9 years
I live in New Orleans, and it is great to click on this site today to see a local post! A couple of things, though -- one, I've never heard doubles called "double barrels" before, and actually there's much debate about the lineage of the use of the word "shotgun" to describe these homes. Some people say it is a derivation of the word "shogun" from some kind of African language. The architectural structure is seen much earlier on the coast of Ghana and other west African nations. The "double wide" you refer to (I've never heard that phrasing, either) is just a regular double that someone has rennovated into a single. The camelback has its origins in LA tax code. Property taxes are based on how much house you can see from the street, so people created camelbacks, which increase the square footage without also increasing your property taxes.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Neat :) I love the detail on the porch!
PamiP PamiP 9 years
btw, that was before people had air conditioning. You'd be crazy to go without it these days.
PamiP PamiP 9 years
The main logic behind these homes comes from the lack of air conditioning and the heat in New Orleans. You can open up your front and back door, or the windows that a lot of the older houses have over the doors, to get the best airflow. This is also one of the reasons the houses are raised. Also an interesting fact about older homes like that here is that they once determined taxes by the number of closets in the homes, so it is pretty rare that you'll have any storage space, because people would just use armoires for clothing.
AKirstin AKirstin 9 years
My Dad grew up in a shotgun, in New Orleans. Anytime he brought it up in stories I always thought it was weird. I would never want to live in one, although I *would* like that porch! :D
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