She was born on January 26, 1958. Her mom Elizabeth worked as a speech therapist and her father Elliott was an insurance salesman. She had an older brother, Vance. From the outside, her family appeared to just like all their neighbors in Metairie, Louisiana, a homogenous, middle-class suburb of New Orleans.
But, as she was painfully aware from a young age, all was not well under the surface. Her parents were employed, but they struggled financially.