By Catherine Jordan,2014-08-17 12:52
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    STANDARDS: The material in this unit may be used to address the following

    Social Studies Standards:

    G-1B-E2 G-1D-E1 G-1C-M3 H-1B-E2 H-1D-


    G-1C-E2 G-1D-E2 H-1A-E3 H-1C-E2 H-1A-


    G-1C-E4 G-1B-M1 H-1B-E1 H-1A-M4

    NAME: The Acadian cottage went through several phases of development,

    but none of those early houses survive in Louisiana today. Although

    the original Acadian immigrants did not live long enough to see the

    final generation of houses develop, this dwelling is, by custom,

    called an Acadian Cottage.

    LOCATION: Areas of Acadian and Cajun settlement in South and Southwest

    Louisiana (refer to sections on settlement patterns).



    COTTAGE: Size: Houses range from small, one room versions to those

    moderate in size. (Wealthy Cajuns who wanted larger

    homes built in the Creole style).

     Height: One-and-one-half stories high (lower floor and

    attic loft).

    Floor Plan: Rectangular shaped cottages varied in size and

    number of rooms according to the prosperity of the


     Houses were usually deeper than they were wide.

     Single Room + Loft Cottages: One downstairs room

    served as family’s living, dining and sleeping quarters,

    with sleeping loft for young males above

     Multiple Rooms + Loft Cottages: Typically two rooms

    wide, accompanied by a front gallery and, perhaps, a

    rear cabinet/loggia range. Sleeping loft for young

    males continued in use.

     Houses lacked hallways and closets.

    Gallery: Full front gallery recessed beneath the home’s

    gable roof.

     Used as outdoor space living.

    Some houses have false galleries, i.e., extensions of the

    gallery roof similar to visors which protect the

    gallery from the sun and rain.

    Stairs: Steep staircases are often located on the front

    galleries of houses west of the Atchafalaya

    River. These lead to an attic loft.

     Some resemble ladders and rise in one flight.

     Others contain a single turn near the gallery


     The houses east of the Atchafalaya River have

    steep internal stairs located within a room or on

    the loggia.

     Scholars speculate as to why Cajuns within

    these two areas treated the stairs differently

    but have reached no definite conclusion.

    Attic Loft: Acadians and their Cajun descendants used

    the attics of their cottages as sleeping quarters

    for adolescent male family members.

     Windows often added to gable ends of the attic

    to provide air circulation through the loft.

Cabinet/Loggia Range:

     Cabinet/loggia range in place of rear gallery.

     Daughters often slept in the cabinet behind the

    parents’ bedroom.

    Foundation: Consists of solid cypress blocks or drums or (later)

    brick piers which raise the house off the ground.

     Houses were raised to protect them from termite

    damage, rot, and periodic flooding.

    Frame: Braced frame, in which vertical posts are supported

    by diagonal braces.

Walls: Walls made of bousillage

     Bousillage: how it is made

     Bousillage: finished wall

     Exposed interior bousillage walls often whitewashed.

     Bousillage often left exposed and then whitewashed

    on front exterior wall because gallery protected it from

    the weather.

     Side and rear exterior walls covered by overlapping

    weather boards applied horizontally. These were

    seldom painted.

    Openings: The number of openings and the quality of their

    coverings varied according to the size of the house

    and the prosperity of the owner.

    Doors: Early small Acadian cottages had two exterior

    doors (front and rear) usually made of heavy

    planks called battens.

    Later and larger Acadian cottages had two or

    more sets of French doors opening to the


    Windows: Early cottages had only a few unglazed

    windows covered by wooden shutters.

    As access to glass became more common,

    casement windows became popular.

    In the nineteenth century, may casement

    windows were replaced by sash windows.

    Roof: Preferred steeply pitched gable end roof covering

    entire house and gallery.

    Chimney: In single room houses, the chimney was located on

    an outside wall.

    In multiple room houses (with side-by-side or back-to-

    back room arrangements), the chimney was placed

    within the house so that it could be shared by back-to-

    back fireplaces.

    In early and more primitive houses, the chimney was

    constructed of mud, moss, and sticks. Brick was used

    for chimneys once that material becomes available.

    Because of the replacement of mud and stick

    chimneys by brick, few of the former survive.

    Mantel: Cottages either lacked mantels or had very plan

    mantels. Some mantels wrapped around the chimney

    flue in the French Creole manner.

     Floor: Cypress planks

    Furnishings: Most Acadians and their Cajun descendants practiced

    a simple life style and held non-materialistic values.

    As a result, most cottages had little or no

    ornamentation and were furnished sparingly.

    The typical early, small cottage might have one or two

    beds with mosquito netting, a wash stand, a table, a

    few rough chairs, and a small wooden chest to store

    clothing and valuables.

    More prosperous farmers or cattlemen might also

    have an armoire and/or dresser.

     Examples: Eastern Acadian Cottage, Ascension Parish

     Eastern Acadian Cottage, Bayou Lafourche Region

    Western Acadian Cottage, Cankton, St. Landry Parish

     Hymel House

     Unidentified Eastern Acadian Cottage

     Eastern Acadian Cottage #1, Labidieville, Lafourche


     Eastern Acadian Cottage #2, Labidieville, Lafourche


     Richardson House

     Smith House

    Pre-restoration Western Acadian Cottage,

    Vermillionville, Lafayette Parish

    Rear cabinet/loggia range, Defosse House, Avoyelles


     Interior stair, Unidentified Acadian Cottage

NOTE: All examples are courtesy of Dr. Jay Edwards, Fred B. Kniffen Cultural

Resources Lab, Department of Geography & Anthropology, Louisiana State University,

Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In some cases complete building identification is unavailable.

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