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Top 5 classic New Orleans style homes

French Quarter History & Culture Walking Tour Image 4


by Jeffrey Chitek

New Orleans is a unique place.  By American standards, it’s one of the oldest settlements in our country’s history.  A lot has happened here. New Orleans has experienced 4 different countries of leadership, slavery, a civil war, rebellion, emigration, and social and political corruption and unrest.  This varietal experience lays evident is New Orleans culture to this day…the music, the food, the people, and…the architecture. Below is a short guide to this city’s architectural diversity….


CREOLE COTTAGE (1790-1850)

A common site throughout the French Quarter and Marigny neighborhoods, the creole cottage is a confluence of Caribbean and French Canadian design.  This single floor style is endemic to the Gulf Coast of the US and is very common in New Orleans’ older neighborhoods bordering the Mississippi River.



An early nineteenth century standard, the American townhouse can be found in port towns from Winona, MN to New Orleans.  The most common building material is thin sandstone brick, but similar styles use stucco and bonding in the same fashion.  The Central Business and Lower Garden Districts of New Orleans have a number of classic examples of this short lived architectural style.


CREOLE TOWNHOUSE (1788-mid 1800’s)

Similar to the American Townhouse, and found in many similar regions of town, the Creole Townhouse has more of a Spanish influence in its rot iron balcony railings and usually have a commercial shop located on the ground floor rather than being fully residential.  These homes were built in mass after the downtown fires of the late 19th century



Found in the Garden District, Carrollton and elsewhere uptown, these homes are urban versions of French-Colonial plantations. These houses are raised enough above street-level that there is sometimes a garage or work area at the ground level. They feature porches that stretch all the way across the front with columns extending up both floors. Greek Revival and Italianate Center Hall Cottages are most common in New Orleans, but Queen Anne/Eastlake and other Victorian styles can also be found here.  Look it up! Interesting stuff…


SHOTGUN HOUSE (1850-1910)

The most infamous and common housing style throughout most of New Orleans, these long and narrow single-story homes have a wood exterior and are easy to spot. Many feature charming Victorian embellishments beneath the large front eve. Some have a camelback – a second story set at rear of house. The term “shotgun” originates from the idea that when standing in the front of the house, you can shoot a bullet clear through every room in the house.

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