Hurricane Katrina is my fault. There. I said it. I have been harboring this secret for eight years now, and I just couldn’t hold it inside any longer.

Let me explain.

Mama always told me and my sisters, “Don’t you ever, ever, ever put your purse on the floor. If you do, your money will disappear!”

Normally, my purse rests peacefully on a high shelf.

Normally, my purse rests peacefully on a high shelf.

So where do I put my purse when I’m dining out, for example? For everyone knows that it’s rude to place your purse on the table. Why, it’s in my lap, of course! Or on a windowsill if we’re sitting next to one.

No Purse on the Floor (3)

Here my purse sits on the oak table, where I chuck it when I get home.

Jillian gave me cute little doo-hickey eons ago. I call it a purse claw. You hang your purse on it from the edge of the table. The only problem is, sometimes the lip of the table is too wide and the claw won’t grab onto the table.

Purse claws help avert disaster.

Purse claws help avert disaster.

That’s what happened in July of 2005. My sister Paige and I were at Diva Beads in Mandeville, Louisiana to make ourselves some pretty jewelry. I made a jade bracelet – which is not germane to the story – I’m just saying.

Paige said, “Where did you put your purse?”

I blushed. I was so ashamed to whisper my answer. “On the floor.”

She looked at me in horror, but didn’t respond. She tucked hers precariously on her lap as she awkwardly worked on her jewelry, balancing her purse on her legs.

I picked up my purse and placed it on my lap. What was I thinking? Had all Mama’s good training gone down the toilet?

What I didn’t know was, the die had already been cast. My money was about to disappear….at least temporarily. And the sad part about it is, my foolish behavior caused thousands of people’s money to disappear with mine.

Katrina Damage

Our neighborhood three days after Katrina.

One month later, Hurricane Katrina hit and flooded my house. My bank’s headquarters flooded, too – and with it, their server, so there was no accessing my bank account for a while. And of course, I had no idea how much repairs would cost, and how much insurance would cover, so I was pinching every penny.

I could write a book on it. But I won’t bore you with minutia. I just hope that everyone affected by Hurricane Katrina will forgive my transgression – and I hope that we have enough time between us and The Storm to be able to look back with a certain humor.

We survived. We rebuilt. We came back stronger.

No Purse on the Floor (1)

And I have not put my purse on the floor since, just so you know.