RIce and Shine
Katy Morris’ life in the lofts offers a visual feast
Katy Morris has a great view of the Mississippi River from the large windows in her Rice Mills Lofts apartment. Located in the Bywater neighborhood just blocks from the French Quarter, the unique building dates from 1850 and was once the largest rice mill in North America. “This is the perfect place for me,” she says. “I love the windows that offer a broad, unobstructed view of the river, and there’s something magical about being able to open them and take in the sights and sounds of the ships and tugs on the water and feel the fresh breeze. Bywater is a vital neighborhood with an abundance of eclectic people and good restaurants nearby.”
The large third-floor apartment is Morris’ sanctuary from her busy career as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond, where she serves as team physician for Southeastern Louisiana University as well as high schools in the area. “The building is unique with its huge beams and exposed brick walls and the graffiti that was added during its period of neglect,” she says. “I also enjoy having a corner space that feels extra private to me.
The brainchild of Sean Cummings, founder and CEO of ekistics, a design-centric real estate business in New Orleans, the building was renovated in 2012 with New Orleans architect Wayne Troyer and Los Angeles interior designer LM Pagano heading the team that created the dramatic, fresh look unlike any other apartment building in New Orleans.
Rice Mill Lofts in Bywater with the words “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” added to the top of the building.
Dr. Katy Morris is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond where she serves as team physician for Southeastern Louisiana University as well as high schools in the area.
Public areas of the Rice Mill Lofts feature original art and graffiti that was added during a period the building was neglected.
The wall in the hallway shows off Morris’ collection of hats.
An entry to the apartment features an ideal spot to keep bicycles
Morris’ desk is placed behind the sofa facing two large windows so she can enjoy the view of the bend Mississippi River just below the French Quarter while she works; she keeps the windows open much of the time to embrace the never-ending breeze.
The 1910 workbench in the kitchen features working vices and serves as a work surface and to store wine.
The wall above the cabinets in the kitchen displays old record covers Morris’ mother collected when she worked for Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia in the 1970s; two of the well-known groups Capricorn recorded were the Allman Brother Band and The Marshall Tucker Band.
The large bathroom features a shower with a rain showerhead at the end of the room.
“There is so much to like about the Rice Mill Lofts,” Morris says. “The 55-foot saltwater pool is amazing, and I have a perfect view of it from my windows. Then there’s the 6,000-square foot roof deck where you’ll always find some of the interesting residents of the building hanging out.” Then she waxes fondly about the perfect natural light, 12-foot ceilings and spaciousness of her place.
Morris’ eclectic furnishing fit well in the space that features an entry where she keeps her bicycles. “The entry sold me on this apartment,” she says. “I like my bikes to be easily accessible, so I keep them right by my front door. The long hallway from the entry to the large open space that features the living room, dining room and kitchen is my gallery. It’s wide enough for an old sofa that I had recovered, while the wall above is perfect to showcase my collections of hats.”
Two walls in the open living area show off the original exterior brick walls of the building. “They give the main living space a historical connection to the old building and a special unique patina that I love,” Morris says. A large pine table on rollers is pushed against the wall to make the room more spacious and pulled out for sit-down dining. Kitchen cabinets are neatly tucked at the end of the space. “The wall above the cabinets is a perfect place to display the old record covers my mother collected when she worked for Capricorn Records in Macon, Georgia in the 1970s. Two of the well-known groups Capricorn recorded were the Allman Brother Band and The Marshall Tucker Band.”
Completing the apartment are two bedrooms and two bathrooms. “I found the perfect headboard for the bed in my master bedroom,” Katy says. “It is made of solid mango wood and carved to represent a lotus flower.” She adds, “I love to wake up with an eye-level view of the river from the window next to my bed and see the sunrise downriver behind the ships – the sight never gets old to me, and I don’t know how many times I have captured the beauty of it all with my iPhone. What else can I say? This
is a true sanctuary for me and a perfect home.”