Debra Nicole Lane was born on November 23, 1988, the only child of Theresa and Shaun Lane of New Orleans.
A jazz keyboardist, Shaun met Theresa at one of his regular club gigs, wheres he was celebrating a girlfriend's 30th birthday. The divorced teacher had a preschool son, Randy, and initially, she was wary of Shaun's erratic schedule and prior misdemeanor brushes with the law. But Shaun proved himself responsible, and he and Theresa married in 1987 when Randy was nine.
When Debra was born, Theresa cut back to part-time work, which strained the family's finances. They rented out a room in their house to an ever-changing parade of college students and musicians. Shaun began staying up late after his gigs to jam with their musician tenants, and Randy often complained about the late-night noise.
When Debra was eight, Randy left home to study environmental sciences at Louisiana State University and later moved to California.
Young Debra always begged her father to play music with her, and it became apparent she had inherited his talent. Despite the family's financial worries, Shaun paid one of his buddies to teach Debra guitar, and she loved it.
In high school, Debra formed a band with some girlfriends, and when she graduated in 2006, she planned to work a day job to support her music career. Still, when a nightclub owner praised Debra’s demo CD cover art, she decided to enroll in graphic design classes at Delgado Community College. Through an instructor's recommendation, Debra landed a temp job designing ads for the Times-Picayune newspaper. The job paid decently enough for her to rent a studio apartment of her own.
When she was 21, Debra got pregnant by a bandmate’s ex-boyfriend. The two never had long-term prospects, so they went their separate ways, and Debra became a single mother of Django Shaun Lane on January 11, 2011. Debra struggled to meet the demands of motherhood and her job. Before Django was a year old, Debra and the baby moved in with Theresa and Shaun, and Debra began working on call as a computer support technician at Tulane University.
At a conference held on campus, she met Harris Blanchard, an assistant mathematics professor from Ole Miss, who was due to give a paper on an uncooperative laptop. While Debra was troubleshooting, they discovered a shared love of jazz, and after Harris's presentation, Debra took him out on the town. Despite their different backgrounds, the two began dating sporadically, whenever Harris could make it to New Orleans.
Eventually, Harris persuaded Debra to bring Django to Oxford so they could be together. When Django entered kindergarten, Debra returned to part-time work in the communications department at Ole Miss, where she updated the university's web site. She thrived at the job, but budget cuts struck, and her position was eliminated in 2018. Since then, Debra has worked as a freelance web designer and recently secured a part-time contract with Okapi Web Design.