"he followed the paling band of doorlight down toward the batboard jakes at the bottom of the lot"
Homes with attached jakes at Milneburg, New Orleans (c. 1923)
Public DomainHomes with attached jakes at Milneburg, New Orleans (c. 1923) - Credit: Orleans Levee Board

Jakes were another name for outhouses,  a type of toilet in a small structure separate from the main building which does not have a flush or sewer attached.

Although the first flushing lavatory with a cistern was invented as far back as 1596, the idea failed to catch on until the late 18th century. In 1775 Alexander Cumming was granted a patent for a flushing lavatory. Joseph Brahmah made a better design in 1778. The U-bend was invented in 1782. However, flushing toilets were a luxury at first and did not become common till the late 19th century