Big Easy’s shotgun: cross-ventilated narrow houses stay cool

Since the 1830s shotgun houses (AKA shotgun shacks, shotgun cottages, shotgun huts, “long houses”) have been popular in New Orleans. Usually no more than 12 feet wide, these “long houses” are long and skinny with rooms lined up in a straight line such that if you fired a shot through the front wall it could exit the back door without touching a wall.

In 19th century New Orleans, shotgun cottages were a common home for century immigrant workers. They could be easily and cheaply constructed by inexperienced builders since their simple roofs don’t require gables. They are also ideal for hot climates; by opening the back and front doors, a breeze will flow through the home unobstructed.

We visited Lillian and her 400-square-feet in the Irish Channel neighborhood of New Orleans (home to many 19th century Irish, Italian and German immigrants). She gives us a tour and talks about the possible West African origins of the architectural style ( and the different variations of shotgun home: “double-barrel” (two shotguns with a shared wall) and “camelback” (a shotgun with a second floor at the rear).

Original video: big-easys-shotgun-cross-ventilated-narrow-houses-stay-cool

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  1. janinelewis43
    November 21, 2016

    I grew up in shot gun houses in NewOrleans. There is no privacy but they are charming. My grandmother, who is 88, still lives in the one she was born in.

  2. Michael Walker
    December 20, 2016

    I'm digging this video! I'm looking to remodel my home, but also considering a new structure, maybe a shotgun. I'm intrigued with how small this home is, yet so spacious inside. "The high ceilings!"

  3. tiber44
    January 3, 2017

    These houses are so sweet! Greetings from France 😉

  4. Taka Yama
    March 24, 2017

    Now hey, that's about the best looking small house I've seen. I was born and raised in a shotgun house, one of six (that'd be six) kids, me Mammy and me Pappy. Happy as could be.

  5. Daniel Hammond
    April 17, 2017

    I like it, but I would need a larger fridge. And a wall and door on the bedroom!

    May 7, 2017

    These are great, I would build one of these for myself.

  7. tipofmytongue1024
    May 10, 2017

    Why aren't there Shotgun houses in Maryland?! 🙁 I really wanna build one.

  8. oxy 75
    May 11, 2017

    no shit I thought the rich elite lived in shotgun houses

  9. Gathering No Moss
    May 23, 2017

    I wish they would begin building communities of small houses again – not 'tiny houses', but real houses with plumbing. Affordable to more people whose only option now is buying a dilapidated fixer-upper, if anything at all.

  10. memo memo
    May 23, 2017

    My town Brownsville TX. has many shotgun homes especially in the downtown area which some date back to the early 1900 my guess. I refer to them as grandma homes because growing up around this area all I would see living in these homes were old nice people. Many of these homes still exist but stand abandoned or vacant. I see the beauty, warmth and history in them that many have abandoned.

  11. Helena Hayes
    May 26, 2017

    I love your little house. Wish I could live there in my retirement. Those arches and little tropical backyard are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  12. AfricancoolChic
    June 3, 2017

    'Shotgun houses were brought to the United States in the 18th and 19th century, as islanders in Haiti and the West Indies started settling in New Orleans, bringing this African architectural style with them', according to

  13. Dilly Dally
    June 3, 2017

    Great homes

  14. Maria Ordoñez
    June 5, 2017

    felicidades es increíble tu casa

  15. Patricia Elena Alfonso Barragán
    June 14, 2017

    Enough and lovely.

  16. Wendy G Kennedy
    June 29, 2017

    It took two years for her to start…. Redding it??? What's redding???

  17. Miss Tonya c007
    August 8, 2017


  18. Ken Alexander
    October 2, 2017

    Two story Shotgun House is Known as a Double Barrel Shotgun

  19. Bfoots1952
    November 4, 2017

    My parents lived in a double duplex shot gun style house in Atlanta from 1950-1957. There was a frobt porch followed by a living room up front, behind that was the bedroom with a small bathroom to the side off the bedroom area. Then behind that was the kitchen and the back porch. I lived there from birth until I was 4 1/2 years old.

  20. corey thompson
    November 24, 2017

    thats not why its called a shoot gun house lol.. its called that do to the fact if you stand at back with shot gun you can cover the whole house with a shot gun. the shot spreads..

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