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St Ann Shotgun Aims for Second Century

Typical Working Class St. Ann Street Shotgun

Typical Working Class St. Ann Street Shotgun

The house at 2404 St. Ann is a marvelous New Orleans “shotgun.” I am totally amazed at how well preserved it is and how it has dutifully carried the soul and story of the original builder into the 21st century. The magic is in how well defined the original details are and how these details have lived through hard, neglected times to tell an important story today. Collums Construction felt lucky and honored to have been the New Orleans construction company chosen to prepare this special shotgun for its second century.

Original rear porch at 2404 St Ann Shotgun is a rarely preserved feature.

Rarely preserved original rear porch

The impact of how standard the lean-to addition is as the rear facade of the “typical” shotgun double was really driven home when I saw the almost perfectly preserved rear porch and rear lean-to of this cottage. The front façade of this St. Ann Shotgun is the typical working class shotgun, built with the front right on the sidewalk, no porch and a shallow roof overhang. Decorative brackets, carved quoins, cornices, and shiplap front siding identify this structure as a working-class shotgun with an “upgraded” exterior trim package.

Clearly the original wood frame and deck of the back porch had rotted off and had been replaced with a well-designed and skillfully executed concrete deck and concrete stairs during a previous modification. The house has been fortunate over the years as its original builder was a craftsman familiar with the New Orleans building environment and a subsequent porch rebuild was skillfully constructed by a master artisan.

Large Pocket Doors are typical New Orleans Millwork for Shotguns

Large Pocket Doors are typical New Orleans Millwork

The Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans working with the Prince of Wales Building Crafts Apprentices Program needed a house ready for plaster in time to take advantage of the apprentices’ time in New Orleans. Master Plasterers would use the St Ann shotgun as a training lab for the apprentices.

We have been tasked to have the house ready for the apprentices within five weeks. We started the last week of November 2009 and intend to have it ready for the plasterers by January. To accomplish this we must complete all structural repairs, restore the historic roof, repair all exterior trim and siding, and then have all mechanical trades complete their rough-in.

Original indigenous cypress window

Original indigenous cypress windows

The structure had a earlier termite infestation that went unchecked and the insects obliterated the sills, many floor joists, wall studs and even the original heart pine flooring.

The structural work is well underway with most of the damaged sills and joists replaced. Bryon Cornelison, CC’s project manager, working with Max Mendoza (CC’s operation manager), is responsible for maintaining this fast track schedule. Check back as we will keep you updated on our progress.