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House Styles in New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley

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French Colonial Architecture
Destrehan Plantation House near New Orleans, constructed 1787-1790

Destrehan Plantation House near New Orleans, constructed 1787-1790

Photo by Michael Overton/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
During the early 1700s, French colonists settled in the Mississippi Valley, especially in Louisiana. They learned building practices from the Caribbean and the West Indies to design practical dwellings for a territory prone to flooding.

The Destrehan Plantation House near New Orleans illustrates the French Colonial style.

French Colonial architecture has many of these features:

  • timber frame with brick or "bousillage" (mud combined with moss and animal hair)
  • wide hipped roof extends over porches
  • thin wooden columns
  • living quarters raised above ground level
  • wide porches, called "galleries"
  • no interior hallways
  • porches used as passageway between rooms
  • french doors (doors with many small panes of glass)
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