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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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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