Architecture for Kids
French colonial houses in America are located in Louisiana.
Urban dwellings can be found in New Orleans while rural ones range from
New Orleans along the Mississippi for about 120 miles.
Their distinquishing characteristics are that they
are usually one story will many narrow door and window openings with paired
French doors and paired casement windows, stepped pitched roofs, either
hipped or gabled, and walls of stucco over a have timbered frame.
There are two traditions: urban and rural.
There remain in New Orleans many French urban cottages
which lack porches and are built directly up to the sidewalk. These have
side gabled or hipped roofs and flared eaves that overhang the front facade.
The old city of New Orleans was virtually destroyed by
fires in 1788 and 1791. As the city was rebuilt, the preference was for
multi-storied buildings in which shops and commerce were placed on ground
level with residential housing above. These buildings retained the French
doors and the flavor of the homes that preceeded them. Each French door
had a small balcony made od delicate wrought iron. As wrought iron
technology developed in teh mid 1800s most of these balconies were replaced
with elaborate porches which is what we view in New Orleans today.
The French rural houses have extensive porches supported
by slender wooden columns under the main roof line. The roofs are steeply
pitched, usually pitched roofs. The houses are usually raised on high (often
one story high) masonry foundations. The porch above is supported by massive
English houses are usually directed inward. They usually
have few external entrances. There are internal halls and staircases to
reach the various rooms. This is not true of French houses where all rooms
have doors with access to the outdoor ground level or porches and stairways
Acadian House was built in about 1765 by Chevalier M. D'Auterive on
property he received from a Spanish land grant. It is near St. Martinville.
This house was built by Edward Douglas White, one of the earliest settlers
in Lafourche Parish, in 1890. He became governor of Louisiana and was later
a U.S. Congressman.
Parlange is an exquisite example of Louisiana planation
houses. It was built in the early 1750's by a French nobelman, Marquis
Vincent de Ternant. Indigo was the first crop of the planation, but sugarcane
soon became the successful crop as at most other South Louisiana farms.
Parlange is built of brick on the first level and cypress, plaster and
mud on the second. Brick pillars support the balconies surrounding the
house and matching cypress colonettes support the hipped roof.
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||This is one of two octagonal pigeonniers that stand near the house
on each side in the tradition of Northern France.
Pigeonniers were the source of squab for the table.
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The photos above are credited as follow:
New Orleans: Patricia M. Shillingburg
Plantations Homes are from photographs by Dick Dietrich in Lousiana's
Plantation Homes, The Grace and the Grandeur, published by Voyager
The Pigeonier is a photograph by Alex McLean, from Great American
Houses and their Archtectural Styles, by Virginia and Lee McAlester,