Antebellum refers to a place and time in history, and not a style of architecture. The architectural styles characteristic of the 19th-century South, dating from the American Revolution to the start of the American Civil War is Antebellum architecture. Antebellum architecture is especially characterized by Georgian, Neo-classical, and Greek Revival style plantation homes and mansions. In New Orleans, the homes in the Garden District and much of Uptown New Orleans are Antebellum. The word antebellum means pre-war, referring to the Civil War.
The features we attribute to Antebellum homes were introduced by Anglo-Americans after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and during a wave of immigration from Europe. The architecture had been previously determined by whoever lived on the land: the Spanish Creoles, the French Creoles, the African Creoles, and the Native Americans. Hoards of European immigrants seeking economic opportunities emigrated to America after Napoleon’s defeat and the end of the War of 1812. These immigrants became the merchants and planters of goods to trade. These great plantations flourished growing high-yielding cash crops with the economic advantage of a slave labor force. The plantation homes of the south, before America’s Civil War, showcased the wealth and the architectural style of the day.
Most Antebellum homes are in the Greek Revival or Classical Revival style. Sometimes they are in the French Colonial or Federal style as well. The most common characteristics are: a symmetrical façade; hipped or gabled roof; evenly spaced windows across the front and rear of the house for cross ventilation; Greek pillars and columns; elaborate friezes; balconies and covered porches; center hall; grand staircase; and a formal ballroom. Originally, the kitchens were in out-buildings to reduce fire hazards. However, kitchens were moved into the home after extensive renovations to modernize these homes.
To learn how you can purchase your own Antebellum home, call Robert Ripley Realtors at 504.949.5400.