Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shotgun Houses of New Orleans

Almost everyone is familiar with the iron balconies of the French Quarter, but the unique and fascinating architecture of New Orleans doesn't stop there. The long narrow "Shotgun House" appears all over the city. And while it was built (starting in the Victorian era) for the working classes, great attention was paid to detail. Elaborate mill work (gingerbread), multicolored color schemes, and decorative shutters are the rule, with every house being different from it's neighbor.
The narrow fronts of these houses belie the roominess inside. With no wasted space, a long progression of rooms, from the front of the building to the back, are connected by a narrow side hall. Often these rooms with high ceilings sport lovely woodwork and fireplace surrounds.
Many of these wonderful homes are being saved, but many have been torn down indiscriminately by the city government since Katrina. Concerned New Orleans citizens in such neighborhoods as Bywater, Mid City, and Marigny are fighting for the chance to save their homes. These are the places where New Orleans' musicians, artists, and small business owners live.
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