Britney Takes a Break

Britney Spears will have more luck cow tipping than club hopping on her first extended vacation in four years -- at her mother's house in Kentwood, La., where the pop tart plans to spend the next six months. 

A far cry from New York or Los Angeles, Kentwood has no hotels or motels, but it does boast 10 churches, an indoor rodeo arena and a motocross course. 

The biggest event is the town's annual Dairy Festival in November, drawing most of the 2,650 residents. 

"We're extremely happy she's come back," says Mitch Hembre, a manager at the Applebee's in nearby Hammond, where Britney likes to eat sirloin at a table under a photo of herself. "She'll probably stop by pretty soon. 

"She tries to be anonymous, but it never works that way," he adds. 

Britney -- who recently announced she was taking a half-year break from show business -- is clearly the most exciting thing that's ever happened in these parts. 

At the Kentwood Historical Center, three out of four rooms are dedicated to Britney memorabilia. 

There's even a re-creation of her childhood bedroom, built by her father, with her dolls and frilly bed linens. (The other room houses WWII uniforms and photos.) 

Callahan's Furniture has a sign that brags, "Home of Britney Spears," and the Spring Creek Crossroads grocery and gas joint has a huge poster of her on the wall. 

Britney was spotted Sunday in Vancouver, B.C., visiting her little sister Jamie Lynn, who's filming a TV commercial there. 

But the staff at Nyla's Burger Basket in neighboring Osyka, Miss., is positively giddy about the singer's return -- whenever the mega-star happens to turn up in her Mercedes convertible. 

When asked whether the staff was eager to see Britney, waitress and cook Becky Millien declared, "Yes, Ma'am!" 

"Everyone's excited," trilled another waitress during the lunch rush. 

The singer likes Nyla's mustard greens, cheese fries and chocolate pie so much, she was inspired to open her own restaurant Nyla in Manhattan. (Unlike the original, New York's lacks a tanning salon.) 

Let's hope -- for the exposed navel fad she started -- she brought her trainer home with her. 

She could also get plenty of exercise at Kinchen's 1.8-acre indoor rodeo facility, where barrel racing, team roping and bull bashes are all the rage. (Watch out for a cowgirl fashion frenzy!) 

If she really wants to shed her celebrity skin, Britney could stop by The Cafe to gossip with high school pals. 

"We're pretty respectful," said Cathy Chapman, editor of the Kentwood News Ledger. 

"When she's home, she's given her privacy. We don't see much of her. That may change now. She may get out and around." 

That is, if she's not hiding out at the 7.5-acre estate on a hill she built for her family -- called "Serenity"-- where she's likely to read scripts, according to her publicist, Lisa Kasteler, and sip Pepsi from her personal vending machine. 

Kasteler denied that Britney was having a Mariah Carey-like meltdown from recent disappointments, including her breakup with Justin Timberlake and her parents' divorce. Star Magazine also reports that Britney was furious that Pepsi signed her rival, Shakira. 

"She is going to travel, write music and hang out with family and friends, whom she hasn't been able to spend any real time with for a long time," Kasteler told Reuters. 

Nobody's more excited than Britney's mom, Lynne Spears. 

"Britney's six-month vacation is here! Yay!" Mama Spears wrote on her Web site. "She loves to be able to wake up when she wants and decide what she chooses to do each day. There's no hair and make-up to sit through. Instead of catering, she has home cooking. 

"Fame and fortune hasn't blemished Britney. She still enjoys the same simple pleasures with the same family and friends."

For more news, entertainment and sports coverage, click here for