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French Creole Architecture

French Creole is one of the main distinct styles of architecture in Louisiana and Mississippi.  During the 1700’s, many French residents settled in the Mississippi Valley, and today, evidence of this style is all around these states.  It is studied and admired by architects worldwide.

Origin

Many say that the origins of French Creole begin in the Caribbean and West Indies.  Indeed, there is much influence of this culture in French Creole architecture work. Beginning in the 1700’s, many plantations were modeled after this style, particularly Destrehan and Parlange plantations.  The surroundings were primarily rural, and many others combine traditional Anglo styles with French Creole. 

Floor Plan

What did a typical French Creole house or building consist of?  There are some key elements. First, many French doors and wrap-around mantles were used, to give the building a French influence. Living quarters were raised above ground level, with porches typically used as pathways between rooms.  This was done because the southern Louisiana area is very prone to flooding, and people wanted their bedrooms to be safe. Roofs were broad and wide, and extended over these porches.  The floor plans are asymmetrical and lack interior hallways, if any at all. A typical house frame is made of a special material involving moss, animal hair, and mud.  Columns, made out of a thin, painted wood typically graced the outdoors.  Of course, every house is different based on size or geography, but these are common French Creole features. The Garden District of New Orleans is home to some beautiful columned French colonial houses.  Over time, architectural styles varied somewhat, but most were kept with this type of floor plan and style in mind.

After the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, many Louisiana citizens must rebuild and are doing so with this style in mind to preserve the culture and history.

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