Shot-Gun Houses

It is often stated that the “shot-gun” house got it’s name because you can stand in the front doorway, fire a shot gun, and the bullet would exit right out of the back door.

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A shot-gun house is a narrow linear home with the rooms arranged one after the other, so that each room leads into another without a hallway. Typically one room wide and two to four rooms deep. Usually the house is adorned with a back and front porch.

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This style of home is well suited for hot climates because if both front and back doors are open it allows air to flow through the entire house. Shot-gun homes can be found all over the southern regions of the USA.

One particular city comes to mind…. New Orleans.

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Many historians believe the style of the “shot-gun” was brought to New Orleans by Haiti immigrants, where the Haitian shotgun was a blend of West African and West Indian architectural styles. The style was popular because it was a building style Haiti immigrants were familiar with but it was also a very economical way of building for low-income families. 

The house’s exterior started off basic and as the shot-gun evolved through the 19th century, Greek Revival and Victorian Gingerbread were of many decorative elements incorporated into the style.

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Hurricane Katrina’s devastating affects have brought on thousands of shot-gun renovations and even some-what of a revival.

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The Make it Right projects in the lower 9th ward were inspired by the shotgun (with a very modern aesthetic). See above pictures from one of their projects. (The FLOAT house… It actually floats!)

See more other inspiring pictures of “shot-gun” style homes around the country:

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