Katrina cottages have front porches, turned columns, steel roofs and steel studs. The cottages are also made with mold-resistant drywall, rot-resistant siding, and energy-efficient appliances. Most of the designs are single-story cottages, but some are two stories.
Marianne Cusato and her team created Katrina cottages. Cusato wanted to create affordable, dignified and welcoming housing alternatives to the cheap Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers offered to victims of Hurricane Katrina. The prefabricated houses are small, easily manufactured and shipped in pieces. They are intended as permanent housing solutions for residents who lost their homes.
Unlike FEMA trailers, they are designed to have the character and charm of many homes in the areas Hurricane Katrina destroyed. The cottages range in size from 300 to 1,800 square feet. They come in many colors, including the soft pink and yellow colors commonly used for Gulf Coast homes. The cottages have one to three bedrooms.
The state of Mississippi delivered thousands of the cottages to residents who lost their homes in the hurricane. Lowe's sold the cottages as part of the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. As of 2015, Lowe's no longer sells the cottages, but Cusato continues to create new designs and sell the homes to anyone interested in smaller and more affordable housing.