One of the joys I have gotten during this stay at home time in New Orleans has been walking around New Orleans taking pictures of beautiful homes all around the city. Many people would say that the mansions in the Garden District are the most beautiful homes but I love the colorful shotgun houses that dot the streets of the entire city.
Shotgun homes are characteristically long, narrow houses that are a single room wide and several rooms deep. Popular folklore says that the homes’ design allows a shotgun to fire a bullet through the open front door, straight through each room and out the back door unscathed.
Structures of this type originated in West Africa, were then introduced to Haiti, and eventually made their way to New Orleans through Haitian and West African refugees, immigrants, and slaves. They were traditionally lower-class housing but now these homes are sought after by everyone and many have breathtaking remodels inside that highlight the past but also bring in modern elements.
These homes often do not provide much privacy as many do not have hallways and they require you to walk through rooms to get from the front to the back of the house. The kitchens are often in the rear of the home. The homes also have high ceilings to promote better air flow in the hot and humid climate.
In New Orleans, they are often painted vibrant colors and as Marie Kondo would say, “Spark Joy” as you drive through the neighborhoods all over town. In some neighborhoods the color of the homes is controlled through the historic preservation societies and the color scheme must be approved to maintain historical accuracy. Anytime I see this type of home in my travels I think about New Orleans traditions.