The “Sportsman’s Paradise”, the “Bayou State”, and the “Pelican State” are all common nicknames for one of the most eclectic states in the U.S… Louisiana. The state’s rich history dates back to its French rule prior to the Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana is undoubtedly a resilient state and a state that takes its architecture, traditions, monuments, and history very seriously. Tourists travel to the state for reasons ranging from festivals like the Pontchatoula Strawberry Fest and the New Orleans French Quarter Fest to experiencing notable attractions such as the Myrtles Plantation and the eerie above ground cemeteries. Yet, one of the most notable assets that Louisiana is known for is the preservation of its age old architectural jewels.
Louisiana Architecture: The Jewels of the Bayou State
Much of the state’s architecture dates back to the 18th century and boasts a look and feel that is unique but functional. The “shot gun home” may be one of the most recognizable structural types especially if you’ve ever visited the state’s historic third capital (1722-1825) of New Orleans. During the 18th and much of the 19th centuries, the shot gun home was one of the most popular to build amongst the working class because of the inexpensive cost and overall functionality. There are single shot gun homes (like the one pictured), double shot gun homes (typically for 2 separate families), side gallery shot gun homes (with a sort of porch that runs along the side of the home), and camelback shot gun homes (with an upper level in the rear of the home). Yet, the most common form you’ll see in many New Orleans neighborhoods is the double shotgun home.
Creole cottages can be found in the historic New Orleans French Quarter and are characterized by their colorful exteriors and window/door paneled shutters. Cottages typically have only 4 large rooms and closely resemble traditional slave quarters found on plantations. The center hall cottage, a more modern cottage version, dates back to the state’s 19th century and harbor some Caribbean inspiration as well. These homes are typically 2 rooms long and 2 rooms wide with a wide center hallway and a narrow closet space in the rear. These cottage types are usually raised on piers of 5 feet or more.
Townhome types in the state include: the Double Gallery townhome, the Creole townhome, and the American townhome. Townhomes are generally 2-3 stories and are characterized by their slender architectural build. Distinguishing characteristics between the Creole townhome and the American townhome are their balcony placements. Creole townhomes have balconies on both the second and third levels while American townhomes have balconies on only the second level.
Home styles in the state vary greatly depending upon the time period the home was built. The oldest home style found in the state would be those of creole heritage. (creole cottage, creole townhome, etc.) Yet, many mansions and historic homes possess Greek Revival and Edwardian home style characteristics which date back to the early to mid 1800s. The Buckner Mansion (pictured), a Greek Revival style masterpiece, is one of Louisiana’s most haunted places and was featured in the hit show “American Horror Story”. Be sure to visit during your next stay! You may even get to meet Miss Josephine, the dedicated slave woman, who haunts the property til this very day.
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