Dating old shotgun houses
But then why do we see "long houses" in the rear of the French Quarter and in Faubourg Treme as early as the 1810s?
Or, alternately, did the shotgun diffuse from the Old World as peoples moved across the Atlantic and brought with them their building culture, just as they brought their language, religion and foodways?
Yet they were also erected as owned-occupied homes in wealthier areas, including the Garden District.
New Orleans shotguns in particular exhibited numerous variations: with hip, gable or apron roofs; with "camelbacks" to increase living space; with grand classical facades or elaborate Victorian gingerbread.
Kniffen showed in the 1930s that shotguns generally occurred along waterways in areas that tended to be more Francophone in their culture, higher in their proportions of people of African and Creole ancestry, and older in their historical development.
Beyond state boundaries, shotguns occur throughout the lower Mississippi Valley, correlated with antebellum plantation regions and with areas that host large black populations.
The shotgun house is not an architectural style; rather, it is a structural typology -- what folklorist John Michael Vlach described as "a philosophy of space, a culturally determined sense of dimension." A typology, or type, may be draped in any fashion.
Thus we have shotgun houses adorned in Italianate, Eastlake and other styles, just as there are Creole and Federalist style townhouses, and Spanish colonial and Greek revival cottages.
Vlach hypothesizes that the 1809 exodus of Haitians to New Orleans after the St.
Domingue slave insurrection of 1791 to 1803 brought this vernacular house type to the banks of the Mississippi.
"Haitian migrants had only to continue in Louisiana the same life they had known in St. "The shotgun house of Port-au-Prince became, quite directly, the shotgun house of New Orleans." The distribution of shotgun houses throughout Louisiana gives indirect support to the diffusion argument.
Professional home builders responded accordingly, some adding hallways or ells or side entrances to the shotgun, others morphing it into the bungalow form.
House-buyers came to disdain the original shotgun, and it faded from new construction during the 1910s and 1920s.