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HappyChef

Lower Town artist Lorrie Cody is going through a “happy” phase and it’s obvious in her recent paintings of smiling, laughing, round-cheeked people taking pleasure in their work.

The artist’s “happy” period is a result of her move to Paducah from Los Angeles a year ago. She is happy to finally be fulfilling her lifelong dream of being a full-time artist after a 17-year detour as an engineer with Hughes Aircraft. She is delighted with her new friends and neighbors in the Lower Town community and is thrilled with the progress of the house she is renovating. In short, she is . . . happy!

The Artist

Lorrie had childhood dreams of being an artist and never really abandoned the idea, but the hectic pace of a busy engineer moving up the corporate ladder didn’t leave her much time to paint. By 1998, she was working at the corporate level for Hughes but was increasingly disenchanted with the life of a busy executive. It was then she decided to trade her business suit for art supplies.

In the spring of 2002, Lorrie came across an ad in one of her artist’s magazines about the Artist’s Relocation Program in Paducah. She put it aside at first, but it kept popping back into her mind. She visited Paducah in May, and by October she was a permanent resident.

“Paducah is one of those places that when I go on vacation I look at and say, ‘I’d like to live somewhere like that.’”

With the help of the city’s Lower Town initiative and the help of Paducah Bank, Lorrie made that wish come true. “The people of Paducah Bank, mainly Larry Rudolph and Wally Bateman, have made the financing of my project very painless. They are always there with support and a smile, and I sense a genuine concern for me and the Lower Town neighbor- hood. They are a large part of why the revitalization in Lower Town has been successful!”

Lorrie’s Lower Town home and gallery was built in 1885 as a single-fam- ily dwelling but had been divided into apartments at one time. Fortunately, the handrail and some of the spindles from the original staircase had been saved. Lorrie opened up the staircase and reset the original pieces. The house has all of its original fireplaces and large windows with wide molding.

Lorrie can’t help but smile when she talks about her new neighborhood.

“People come up to the house while I’m here working and peck on the window and say ‘I used to live here.’ do that. In Los Angeles, people would I like it that people never do that! Here, people always take the time to talk to you wherever you go.”