Shotgun houses have many of these features:
- The entire house is no wider than 12 feet (3.5 meters)
- Rooms are arranged in a single row, without hallways
- The living room is at the front, with bedrooms and kitchen behind
- The house has two doors, one at the front and one at the rear
- A long pitched roof provides natural ventilation
- The house may rest on stilts to prevent flood damage
A few theories:
- If you fire a shotgun through the front door, the bullets will fly straight out through the back door.
- Some shotgun houses were constructed from packing crates that once held shotgun shells.
- The word shotgun might come from to-gun, which means place of assembly in an African dialect.
Shotgun houses and creole cottages became models for economical, energy-efficient Katrina Cottages designed after Hurricane Katrina devastated so many neighborhoods in New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley.