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THURSDAY - We were awake bright and early this morning and were among the first breakfast patrons of the Cracker Barrel Store when they opened at 7:00AM.

I opted for breakfast from the Seasonal Favorites menu, it's called the "Cinnamon Roll Pie Breakfast". I asked for my eggs scrambled, substituded smoked sausage for the bacon and substitued the loaded hash brown casserole for the fried apples. Oh yeah, and most importantly, a slice of Cinnamon Roll Pie.

I skipped the Hot Chocolate and washed it all down with a large Orange Juice.

Photo courtesy of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store website.

We only have 47-miles to travel to our State Park campsite reservation and since we had last night reserved we could arrive as early as we want today.

The problem is that it's on the other side of New Orleans from where the Cracker Barrel is and we are going to run into morning rush hour traffic at this time of day. I just have to keep reminding myself to "keep it slow and steady" and we'll do just fine.

By 9:00AM we were at the office checking in and soon after were all set up on our campsite.

Once inside of the State Park, and on our way to the campground, we passed by this rather ominious wall stretching the length of the southern boundary of the park.

Living behind the protection of a levy is just an everyday fact of life if you live in or around the New Orleans area, but for us visitors, it's rather daunting.

The good news is that the current water levels are no where near approaching the base of the wall on the other side, unless we get a late season tropical storm or hurricane this weekend.

This 10-12 foot tall levy protects the entire southern boundary of the park.

There are gates like this one that give access to the boat ramp and the 16 cabins.

The canal side of the levy is where you find 16 floating cabins for rent.

With storm clouds like these I hope someone is keeping a close eye on the water levels!

FRIDAY - Our first morning here and we're heading into town to take care of a couple of errands.

First up is finding somewhere to refill 2 of our 30lb. propane tanks, we're down to the last bottle and it's currently only half full.

A local U-Haul was able to take care of that task for us and surprisingly at a very competitive price. U-Haul is usually as much as $.50 a gallon or more higher than places like Tractor Supply.

Now that we have enough propane to last us quite a while we're headed for the Riverfront in New Orleans. We spent a full week in January of 2020 exploring the sights and sounds of New Orleans and felt we did a pretty thorough job back then.

Today we're mostly here to find a "new to us" lunch destination. On our previous visit we ate meals at numerous locations all around town and enjoyed each and every one.

Today we're going to check out the food at the Voodoo Tavern and PoBoys. It's a small corner tavern, maybe six 4-seater tables and a 4-seater bar, centrally located just a block away from the French Market and Jackson Square.

We walked in and found two others sitting at a table with sodas who were presumably waiting for their food order. There were two girls sitting at the bar and the bartender was giving them his full attention. The only other person around was the cook in the kitchen.

After sitting at the table for maybe five minutes the bartender waved me over to the waitress station at the bar with a pair of menus. He then informed me that when I was ready to order to come back up to the bar and he would take our order. We should have left right then, Coop's Place was right across the street and we had a delicious meal there nearly four years ago.

Instead we ordered food and began "The Long Wait". Fifteen minutes later I saw food in the kitchen window and hoped the other couple hadn't order food, yet when the cook yelled out "Order #2 Up!", I slumped in my seat because we had "Order #3".

Another 15-minutes went by before I saw food once again in the window and thankfully it was ours. I went up to the window to grab our food and return to our table.

While we were waiting for our food a group of 10 young men came into the Tavern and took up almost all of the remaining tables in the place. They all ordered food and I thought, I sure hope they don't have anything else planned until after sunset!

What did we order that took so long? Simple food, like French Fries topped with Queso and Chorizo for Tricia and French Fries topped with Crawfish Etouffee for me. I also order an extra cup of Crawfish Etouffee to fill me up.

In all fairness the food was good, not great, but reasonably tasty and fairly priced. However, I still obviously don't recommend visiting this place.

The topper was when I heard the bartender explain to the group of guys that the trash cans inside the front door was for their use when they were finished eating. I've experienced better service at McDonald's. I was regretting giving a 20% tip when I paid my tab just after ordering the food. There was also a "tip jar" in the kitchen window, so I don't suspect the bartender shares the cash register's receipts with her.

After enduring our first unsatifactory dining experience in New Orleans we headed over to the French Market to see if there was anything of interest and fortunately we didn't find anything.

Tricia then walked several blocks down to Café Beignet to purchase a Café au Laits and an order of seasonally offered Peppermint/Chocolate Beignets.

The parking downtown was $5 per hour and our time was running out so we headed out in search of gasoline. Once again the Walmart outside of New Orleans in Westego had the lowest price in the area, plus it was on the way back to the campground. Walmart's gas price, $2.43 a gallon. The Shell Station inside of New Orleans on the other side of the Mississippi River just a few miles away, $3.29 a gallon.

SUNDAY - When most people hear the words New Orleans, they think about Mardi Gras, so here's just a little FYI about that subject.

Mardi Gras began, in what would later become the United States, in 1703. It began near Mobile, AL and not New Orleans, LA as most people think.

The first Mardi Gras Parade wasn't until 1837 and it occurred in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras is not just one single day, it's an entire season. It's season always begins on January 6th, which is King's Day (Feast of the Epiphany). The ending day is always on Fat Tuesday, which can be any day between February 3rd and March 9th.

Why is that? I'm glad you asked.

Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday, which is always 46 days before Easter. Easter can fall on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25, with the exact date to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon, following a spring equinox. Got it?

So as you can see it all depends on where Easter Sunday falls on the calendar.

I'm glad we're not here during those times! The crowds were bad enough this weekend.

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