Dogtrots in New Orleans
Dogtrots, or breezeway houses were common in the Southeastern part of the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. They may have originated in Pennsylvania in the 18th century and moved with the Scot-Irish into the Appalachians and lower South. A dogtrot is essentially two houses connected via a breezeway all contained beneath one roof. Access to the house was usually via the breezeway and this opening of the house onto the dogtrot created air currents throughout the home. This type of construction is more prevalent in rural areas and so New Orleans is not known for this type of architectural style and yet an adaptation does exist here. New Orleans’ lot sizes were narrow and so the breezeway diminished from the usual 6 to 12 feet down to only 2 to 3 feet. As a result of this adaptation, dogtrots in New Orleans are unlike dogtrots in any other region. Dogtrots here were often incorporated into traditional Creole cottages with the vast majority of them being constructed between the 1850’s and 1860’s. They became more rare post American Civil War and that may be the result of the proliferation of Shotgun houses at that time. The economic depression following the war made the Shotguns attractive as they were cheap to construct and often builts as rental spaces. Most of these houses were clustered in Faubourg Hagan or the Mid City area and that region developed five decades after the Louisiana purchase in 1803. There is not much known about their introduction to the city and cannot be tied to any one ethnic group. There may be as few as 11 dogtrot houses left in New Orleans, making them one of the rarest forms of architecture in the city.There is an imperative to save the remaining structures as their rarity and uniqueness make them a treasure in the city.
Thanks to the scholarly work on this subject matter by Jennifer K. Anderson, from which I gleaned the majority of my information.
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