Since he was a kid, Ooti Billeaud had wanted a backyard BMX ramp, but neither his parents nor future landlords were interested, so when he finally purchased land in New Orleans his first plan was to build a ramp. Unfortunately, the city told him if he built a ramp before building a house they would confiscate his land so he built a small house and a very big ramp.
Since his property is in the Bywater historic district, he was obliged to build a shotgun style home. Ooti designed his own home with a facade that has the same narrow feel of a shotgun, but the actual home is “really just two small houses stacked on top of each other”.
Having had some experience in construction while in his teens and twenties, he felt ready to act as contractor and designer on his build, but he wasn’t prepared for all the details and unexpected incidents that are involved in building a home. It took him five years, but today he owns his own home, with a bottom floor that he rents out to help pay the mortgage and with what is likely Louisiana’s largest backyard BMX ramp.
Filmed by Jason Cohen: jasoncohenphoto.com
Rent Ooti’s downstairs apartment: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23908670