Heidi Jennifer Nuss Morice – PhD, LCSW
Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Philanthropist, Humanitarian, Comedian – May 17, 1974 – January 18, 2021
Heidi Nuss passed away on January 18, 2021 after her courageous and undaunted battle with cancer. She joins her two dogs Hero and Pippi to eternally play upon Heaven’s shimmering shores.
Heidi is survived by her best friend, soulmate and husband, Mark Morice and her compassionate and supportive sons Monticello (Monty 9) and Nicolo (Nicky 7). She is also survived by her loving parents Henry and Mary Ann Nuss, her first and oldest friend – her brother Henry Nuss, Jr. (Shay Zeller) and her amazing niece/nephew Sylvia & Luke. Heidi attended Hynes, McMain and then Benjamin Franklin (class of 1992) for her primary education. She then attended Louisiana State University where she received her degrees in Psychology and English, followed by receiving her Masters of Social Work at Southern University and her Doctorate of Philosophy from Tulane University School of Social Work.
True to her character, Heidi spent 23 years selflessly working for others. Heidi worked as a Counselor at Ciara House Group home for Chronically Mentally Ill Adults (98-01), a Counselor and Program Director in the Medical Clinic of Daughters of Charity Healthcare for the Homeless (01-05), a Program Director for Louisiana Spirit Crisis Counseling Program (05-07), the Director of Operations for PACE-GNO, Program of All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (07-08), the Chief of Operations for Odyssey House Louisiana, Inc. responsible for oversight of the free medical clinic, residential substance abuse program, medically supported detox, prisoner re-entry program, housing programs for Shelter Plus Care, Housing for people with aids, Unity funded housing and the adolescent inpatient substance abuse program (08-18). Heidi’s last place of employment was as an educator, teaching a new generation of social workers in the doctorate program of Social Work at Tulane University (18-19). Heidi was as close to a SuperWoman that this world will ever know. During the Hurricane Katrina evacuation, Heidi went to the Louis Armstrong Airport and proceeded to “take over” and turn around a failing triage center established by FEMA. Heidi’s efforts saved countless lives, but you would never hear Heidi boast about her accomplishments. Later in life, while loving her husband and children, Heidi was able to manage a 13M dollar budget and 150 employees and go back to school to earn her PhD and defend her dissertation – all at the same time.
Heidi believed that character ran to the bone and that talk was cheap. Heidi surrounded herself with people defined by their actions and acts of love towards other humans and animals. In a private conversation about the removal of the Confederate War Statues in New Orleans, Heidi said to her husband, “Slavery was the most repulsive, indignant and horrific act that United States of America has ever participated in. We should remove all symbols that honor this tragedy and place them somewhere to view for those who choose to relish them and not in our most honored public spaces.” Heidi was patently direct and was able to hone in on an issue and provide a prompt resolution. Heidi was a lover of children’s books and read thousands of stories to her children, beginning when they were both in her womb. She read to her sons nightly during their entire lives and until she was no longer able to do so. Heidi believed that every activity was better with her sons and they spent every free moment by her side. Heidi volunteered as a Den Leader at St. Pius X for the Boy Scouts in order to continuously be active with her children. She loved everything about nature and spent countless hours with her sons on nature walks around her neighborhood finding plants and animals with a story to tell. Heidi was an excellent chef who cooked nightly for her family using those Italian cooking skills that were laced into her genetic code. Her lasagna, baked salmon, spaghetti, corned beef and tacos were family favorites.
Just five minutes before her death, Monty & Nicky hugged their mother, told her how much they loved her and each gave her a kiss. As her breathing became more labored, her husband held her hand and recounted stories from the night they met, their first kiss, The proposal, their travels together, her loving brother – Henry Nuss – and the many great qualities Heidi has instilled her two young boys. As her husband spoke of their children, a tear came from Heidi’s eye. Her husband wiped her tear and reminded Heidi that their boys have inherited her best qualities and he assured her that he will always nurture, love and care for them. Heidi’s husband prayed aloud the Our Father, the Hail Mary and he asked the Lord to release her from her pain and let her move on with the Angels if it was in His will. As Heidi listened to his prayers, a second tear then fell from her eye and Heidi gently squeezed his hand and peacefully took her last breath. Letting go of this world was no easy task for Heidi as she fought for five years consulting with doctors in Isreal, Mexico, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Ohio and Louisiana in an effort to find a cure. Heidi was gentle on the outside – but tough to the core – and she left no stone unturned in her efforts to beat the cancer with both traditional and non-traditional medicines. Heidi was a beloved mother, wife, sister and daughter. Heidi was determined, principled and had a moral compass brighter than the North Star and she never deviated from its path.
Although her accomplishments were grand, Heidi will probably be best remembered as a world-class comic. Smiles and laughter followed Heidi wherever she went. She was witty, edgy and her ability to point out the ridiculousness of life’s every day events kept everyone around her entertained and full of joy. Heidi’s family asks that in lieu of flowers, you go to your favorite restaurant with family/friends and have a great meal and laugh because family, friends, food and laughter were Heidi’s favorite pastimes. Heidi’s family offers a special thanks to Services of Mary Ministers to the Sick, Province of the U.S.A. who prayed with and helped care for Heidi in the weeks before her death.
Visitation will be held Saturday, January 30, 2021 from 9-11 am at St. Pius X, 6666 Spanish Fort Blvd, New Orleans LA 70124. Services will follow at 11:00 am. Repass at 12:00pm-3:00 pm with details to be provided at the services, All friends, family and our St. Pius X community are invited. We ask that you please bring & wear masks at all times during this event. A private burial will occur at un undetermined date.