The Tiny Cottages of Faubourg Marigny

The Tiny Cottages of Faubourg Marigny

marigny orange

The French Quarter of New Orleans usually gets most of the attention for its architecture, stylish balconies and lively street life, but a small neighborhood just east of the Quarter has a selection of some of the best Creole and Classic Revival cottages in New Orleans. In addition, many of them are tiny.

marigny orange


My husband and I recently went to New Orleans to visit with family and we rented a small apartment in the Fauborg Marigny area of the city. It’s only a few blocks from the French Quarter, but it feels like a different city altogether. The vibe is more historical and bohemian and less touristy and Bourbon Street-y. The main road is Frenchman, which is called the “local’s Bourbon Street”, and is known for its great restaurants, coffee shops and jazz clubs. Because the neighborhood is on higher ground, it escaped the worst of the Katrina flooding.

Many of the cottages that cram the Marigny streets date back to the 19th century and have their own distinctive style of paint color and design. Many of them are “shotgun” style in that they look very small from the front, but their length may take up half a block. The Marigny area is popular with artists, musicians, writers and other creative types who regularly rally for the preservation of their neighborhood which has been placed on the National Register of historic districts.

Photos by Christina Nellemann, infrogmation, deadhorse and netpix.


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]


  1. My husband is from New Orleans and we lived in a double shotgun, which basically was two shotgun apartments that mirrored each other. A shotgun house is one that all exterior and interior doors are all on the same side. Hence if all doors were open and you fired a gun into the front doorway, it would exit out the back.

    • Precisely why they’re called ‘shotgun’ houses: because when “all doors were open” (all being on the same side of every room to room to room) “and you fired a gun into the front doorway”, the bullet “would exit out the back”. 😉
      This wasn’t just a New Orleans style: my Mother lived in one as a teen to twenty-something, in Lafayette, Alabama, before she was married in 1954. Before that, she, her mother and father lived in a ‘sharecropper’s shack’, which was really just a small house, one room with a loft/rafter type area in the ‘back’ (where the kids would sleep) where the roof was higher (the roof made a gentle slope down to the front to the covered porch) and possible a lean-to add-on for Mom and Dad’s bed nook (and privacy). They lived in this very simple, rustic house (I’m looking for pictures we have of my Mom, as a young girl, where she was sitting on a sofa, with the barn-wood walls showing behind her head) in the 20’s during the Depression, where her father farmed the 40 acres with a mule drawn plow and got to keep only a percentage of the crop sale, as the bulk went to the owner of the property (or the bank, depending on one’s situation).
      The ‘gunshot’ style homes were very common during the Great Depression, especially in densely populated urban areas (if row housing weren’t in place already), probably more so in the South. This was due to several decades of bootstrap renovation and rebuilding (much of it at the turn of the century) of the South after the Civil War resulted in so much of earlier architecture burned to the ground…
      One of the few plus features of the ‘gunshot’ style, was that one could open the house up on a hot night, from the front door to the back, and any precious breeze on a hot sultry night would waft straight through and cool the whole house by several degrees. Not much help on a still night, though…
      Loved the pictures of these cute little houses… so charmingly detailed, so authentically-New Orleans!

  2. I lived down there after Katrina. Fantastic part of town. Many of the shotguns are as small as they seem, too. I lived in one that was about 400 square feet, but it felt bigger with 14 foot ceilings. Once you get use to having to walk through every room to get to the next, it really is a nice setup.

  3. Wow talk about “signs”. My friend and I were just talking about moving back to NOLA, our birthplace. When I was first born and until about 4 yers old I lived on Marigny Street. I am a fan of tiny houses so put everything together “this must be s sign.”

  4. Yep. Our little homes are works of art. And we’re masters of organization and storage because of our small spaces. Thanks for showcasing my beautiful little town.

  5. As I read this I was listening to Louis Armstrong and on came Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans. Sigh. I was only there once, for Jazz Fest, but it sure was hard to leave. The food, the music, the houses and above all the people. Late one night (early one morning?)I ended up a lost Canadian in a “bad area” and some supposedly rough, tough, scary local teenagers made sure I found the right bus stop and waited with me until it came to make sure I was alright.

  6. The little red and white house in the 2nd photo is ‘speaking’ to me… anyone else hear that? 😉

    Floorplans, floorplans! ANyone know where we can see some ‘example’ floorplans of the Marigny Street (or similar style) little houses?

  7. New York City tenements are also shotgun. Down on the lower east side, etc. Precious breezes come through on lucky nights. Now I live in Lake Worth, FL, in a cottage that almost qualifies as shotgun. Lots of wonderful small cottages in this little seaside town.

  8. Thanks so much for the piece on Faubourg Marigny. I am a native New Orleanian and relocated to California five years ago. Once you have lived there, you NEVER get it out of your system. If I win the lottery, I’m going back. Thanks again.

  9. Floor plans? I just searched “shotgun house plans” and received a response in .17 seconds listing 670,000 links.