American Culture: Shotgun Houses

Friday, July 16, 2021


Does the name “shotgun house” scare you? Fear not, because a shotgun house is a typical small Southern style home of New Orleans, and it’s charming and cute. Even though tiny homes are a big trend now, shotgun houses could be considered the original tiny home because they were very popular in the late 1800s.

Shotgun houses are tiny but long, with one room leading into the next without hallways. This style of home is affordable and particularly well-suited for hot climates because all of the doors line up and, when open, a refreshing breeze flows through the entire house. 

Why is it called a shotgun house? Perhaps it’s because of the architectural design, where rooms are connected without hallways so a bullet fired from the front door could pass through the house without hitting anything and exit through the back door. Other evidence suggests that this name actually derives from the word “shogon.” In West Africa, “shogon” means “God’s House.”

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