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There are several interpretations as to what defines the shotgun house. The most common belief is that the architectural style originated in the West Indies and entered North American during the early 19th century. The first


and oldest of this design is found throughout New Orleans in the earlier settled neighborhoods.


Most of the first structures prior to 1850 have disappeared, but many of the uptown areas of the city still have early 20th century homes that have been renovated.

The term shotgun is used to describe the fact that if one stood at the front door and fired a shotgun into the home, the shot would exit the rear of the building because there was only one room wide. The rooms were arranged in a line from front to back and access from one room to another would have been down the middle of the building.

The primary reason this style of architecture was so popular in New Orleans and surrounding urban areas was that the property widths were very narrow (30′-50′) in order to give as many residents as possible access to the street.

During the last 60 years many shotgun homeowners who outgrew their spaces, chose to remain in these beautiful neighborhoods by constructing a 2nd floor addition toward the rear half of the structure. This popular addition became known as a “camelback” shotgun due to the “humpback” appearance to the narrow building.

There are many city streets throughout Southern Louisiana that you will find this quaint cottage. If you happen to visit New Orleans, you might drive through the section known as the Uptown area near the well-known St. Charles Avenue. There you’ll quickly identify the shotgun homes.