Monday, June 28, 2010

The New Orleans Raised Basement House

One of the distinctive architectural styles found inside the VA Footprint is what one Louisiana state architectural survey noted as the New Orleans raised basement style.  It's unique to New Orleans, one of the many architectural adaptations that came about as a result of the city's distinctive geographic location.

Several of the homes along Banks Street under the live oaks provide fine examples of the style - "ingenious" homes that are essentially shotgun or irregular homes built up on a false basement that either originally or over time came to serve as a lower floor.  The house shown above, 2315 Banks, seems is likely a 4-bay shotgun that was originally lower, given the details and construction, and was subsequently raised (perhaps due to flooding at some point in the past - the area once was "back of town" lowland that cleared as pumps evolved) and augmented with elaborate stuccoed front steps and a fully enclosed lower floor running the length of the long building. 

In that sense, the house represents not only a unique end product, but also embodies the process of hybridization that has led to such distinctive creolized architectural examples in New Orleans.

Unfortunately, I think this style of house will also be one of the least feasible types as far as moving is concerned.

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