Your Architecture Cheat Sheet


New Orleans is a rich architectural delight, but what happens when you can’t tell the difference between an American and Creole townhouse? Take advantage of the many free tours in town—and have this handy cheat sheet ready. One of the most renowned styles is the Creole Cottage (1790-1850), which is mostly in the French Quarter. They’re single-story, have steep pitches to the roofs and are close to the property line at street level. They’re either stucco or wood. Here are a few more to watch out for:

  • American Townhouse (1820-1850): You’ll find these in the Lower Garden or Central Business District. Usually made of stucco or brick, they’re narrow, three-stories and have asymmetrical façade openings with balconies on the middle level.
  • Creole Townhouse (17881850s): Made with brick or stucco, these structures are mostly in the French quarter, are between two and four stories high and are famous for their iron balcony at the second or third level. They also sport numerous roof dormers.
  • Raised Center-hall Cottage/Villa (1803-1870): Look in Uptown, Carrollton or the Garden District for these wood houses that are one-and-a-half stories high. Six columns can be spotted for support. They have side-gabled roofs and are often raised up to eight feet with brick piers.
  • Shotgun (18501910): These one-story homes are all over the city. Some have a second story situated at the back of the house, which are dubbed a camelback. They’re raised with brick piers, usually have narrow front porches and feature Victorian detailing that suggests lace.
  • Doublegallery (1820-1850): These homes are common in Uptown, Esplanade Ridge, Garden and Lower Garden District. Two stories raised on brick piers, they have covered galleries with columns as frames. Look for hipped or side-gabled roofs.


How many styles can you spy on your strolls through the city?