Southern building seems to be in the stone age sometimes... Just adding Northern style cellars (where the water line allows it) and insulation would do wonders for the ease of cooling, though it is really expensive up front. Also shit like properly venting their attic/crawl spaces and maintaining vented area between roofs and living areas. In the North, you have to do it otherwise you have issues with ice dams and melt running where it shouldn't. In the South, seems like you guys like to have a great big asphalt thermal absorber pumping heat into your house.
To be fair, traditional southern building certainly does include cellars (we call them basements) and vented attics. But I do agree that the current cheapass methods of construction don't.
Don't know if shitty construction is particularly a southern thing now, but I do know if you are in the south and you want something built, either go with a trusted old timer or watch them like a hawk (or both). Might as well do it yourself, considering the time you need to spend on-site making sure things are going in to spec.