Architectural Styles - Creole Cottage

Creole cottages, which may have originated in the West Indies and been introduced to New Orleans by refugees from Haiti, were popular in the city from about 1790 to 1850. These straightforward and unornamented buildings were the most common houses in New Orleans during the early 1800s. They are found in greatest numbers in the Vieux Carre and Faubourg Marigny, where it was not unusual for a builder to erect an entire row of five or six identical structures.

In most cases Creole cottages, square or rectangular in shape, fronted directly on the banquette (sidewalk), and were raised only one or two steps above it. The typical plan consisted of four rooms arranged symmetrically, each approximately twelve to fourteen feet square, with two additional small cabernets in the rear outer corners. One cabinet generally housed a spiral staircase to the attic, which was normally used as a sleeping room, while the other was used for storage.

Two variations on this plan exist but are not nearly as common. The two-bay cottage was a half Creole cottage with two rooms, one behind the other, and a cabinet in the rear. The three-bay cottage had the same room arrangement as the two-bay with the addition of a side entrance hall. Most of the three-bay cottages were built in the 1840s and 1850s.

Most Creole cottages had either gable or hip roofs. The gable-roofed cottage, the more common of the two, appeared in three versions, differentiated by the treatment of the front façade roof extension that projected three or four feet over the sidewalk. The first version, the abat-vent, consisted of an almost flat roof extension supported by iron bearers cantilevered from the façade at the roof line. In the second version the extension was formed by a slightly upturned (canting) of the roof, and in the last the extension was incorporated into the roof line.

Outbuildings, generally two stories high, were built in the backyards of most Creole cottages.

The above description was taken from "New Orleans Houses, a House-Watcher's Guide" by Lloyd Vogt.


Some Examples of Creole Cottages at the Bay
(Past and Present)

121 St. Charles Street
National Register # 93

Circa 1910. Creole Cottage with 4-bay façade. 2 entrances in center. Gable roof with exposed rafter-tails. Central Chimney.
(Destroyed by Katrina in 2005)

StCharles0121(NR1977)
StGeorge0305(NR1977)

305 St. George Street
National Register # 587

Ca. 1880. 1-story 4x2-bay Creole cottage with gable roof and undercut gallery. 2 entrances in center bays. Central chimney. Elaborate cut-out porch balustrade.

337 Main Street
National Register # 518

Ca. 1870. 1-story 4x2-bay Creole cottage with gable roof, undercut gallery, and two entrances in middle bays. Rear addition. Cut-out balustrade and fan motif bracketed posts.

Main0337(NR1977)
Main0338(NR1977)

338 Main Street
National Register # 487

Ca. 1870. 2-story 4x2-bay Creole cottage with gable roof and undercut gallery. Two entrances in central bays are double-leafed with shutters. Posts with capital moldings. Plain balustrade.

341 Main Street
National Register # 520

Ca. 1870. 1-story 4x2-bay gable-roofed Creole cottage with two entrances in middle bays and undercut gallery. Double-leafed doors with shutters. Balustrade.

Main0341(NR1977)
Main0342(NR1977)

342 Main Street
National Register # 486

Ca. 1870. 1-story 4x2-bay Creole cottage with gable roof and undercut gallery. Two entrances in center bays contain double-leaf doors.

228 Keller Avenue
National Register # 283

Ca. 1865. 1-story 4x4-bay salt-box shaped Creole cottage with shallow undercut gallery and 2 entrances in center bays. Central chimney. Replaced posts on brick piers.

KellerAve0228(NR1977)