Norbert Schoenauer Collections :: Housing Archive


Detached Housing-CamelBack, Shotgun

During the last century, people displayed great ingenuity in making detached homes affordable. Some examples are the “shotgun house” and “camelback” houses built on narrow city lot in New Orleans, Louisiana. Both types of houses are only 12 feet or 14 feet ( 3.65m or 4.26m) wide, a constraint that imposed the design of rooms aligned one behind the other, a layout not dissimilar to the 19 th century railroad flats in New York City tenements. The shotgun house is a single story dwelling and derived its name from the notion that a person on entering, could shoot a gun, from front to the rear, and not miss a single room. The camelback house is similar; with the exception that it has a single story front and a two story back with a bedroom above. Apparently, camelbacks originated when municipal taxes were levied according to the street frontage building height. Both shotgun and camelbacks were very popular in New Orleans with people whose incomes were modest. To enhance their affordability, shotgun and camelbacks were built semi-detached or even as row houses (Schoenauer: 1994).

New Orleans, Camel Back, 1985

New Orleans, Camel Back, 1986

New Orleans, Camel Back, 1987

New Orleans, Shotgun house

New Orleans, St Charles Avenue

Shotgun house, New Orleans