Architect, Landscape Architect, Urban Designer, Land Use Planner, Environmental Observer

Sunday, July 19, 2009

SHOTGUN : a type of weapon, a Motown hit from 1965, OR.....


Land being scarce in New Orleans, the lots are very narrow, typically about 35 feet wide. The shotgun design was developed as an inexpensive design to fit these narrow New Orleans lots. Shotgun houses were built in lower and middle class neighborhoods.

Single Shotgun Floor Plan

Double Shotgun Floor Plan

The shotgun double house has four shuttered openings on the street - two doors and two windows. The shotgun single will have one door and window in the front. Most Bywater shotgun houses are flush with the sidewalk with the steps and overhang projecting out onto the sidewalk. The original steps were of wood box like construction. This provided a bench-like platform on each side facilitating the New Orleans practice of "stoop sitting."

Early shotgun houses did not contain a bathroom. An outhouse would be constructed in the back yard, and baths would be taken in the bedroom or other room of the house. In later houses, a bathroom with a small hall would be inserted before the last room of the house.

The first two rooms, called double parlors, are usually separated by double pocket doors. The remaining room-to-room doors are single width and may be double leaf "French" doors or single leaf panel doors.

The front roof of the early shotgun ended in a hip. After the 1880's often a gable was inserted above the overhang. The overhang usually was supported by decorative wooden brackets and contained cast iron ventilators. The front foundation wall included two cast iron ventilators as well.

text, floor plans and vent photo from

Bywater Neighborhood Association

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