The Doullot Steamboat Houses of the Lower 9th Ward
New Orleans is full of beautiful and interesting architecture, and some of the most beautiful homes ever built were in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood. Unfortunately, most of this area was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, there were some houses that survived, called the Doullut Steamboat Houses. The unique architecture of these beautiful old houses actually made them flood resistant, and they're still standing despite the intense flooding in the area.
These houses earned their names because they were designed to look like steamboats. They had giant wrap-around porches, which mimicked the large decks of a steamboat, and they were painted with bright, beautiful colors and had ornamentation that was designed to look like the draped decorations on a boat. The roof has a slightly Asian-inspired design and looks slightly like a pagoda. There are only two of these houses, and they were built in 1905 and 1912. The original builders and owners were a steamboat captain and his son, which is why they have such a unique design.
The reason these homes survived the hurricane and the intense flooding so well is because of their strange construction. The entire ground floor of both homes is covered in ceramic, from the interior all the way out to the poles on the porch. This makes it resistant to groundwater and damage, and although these houses did flood, the home itself wasn't damaged. All the owners had to do was replace any damaged property inside and they could live in it again right away. There was minimal damage to the upper exterior, all of which was refurbished soon after the storm.
The homes' current owner has invested quite a bit of time and money into keeping these houses in good condition. Although there is plenty of beautiful architecture in this neighborhood, these houses stand out because they are just so unique, even for New Orleans. These homes should be a must-see as you are touring New Orleans, particularly if you are interested in the city's history and architecture.