Tip Two: Pick Your Spot Well And See If You Can Find A Drink
Some 8.5 million people visit New Orleans every year. So there's no shortage of hotels to choose from. If you're a couple of young movie stars, you pick a nice, central spot with good literary connections. "We stayed at the Omni Royal Orleans," Ricci tells. "I really liked that hotel. There's a pool up on the roof. You could go and hang out during the day, and it was really nice to just relax there."

Truman Capote certainly thought so. Capote is said to have been a frequent guest of the hotel, which sits at the corner of Royal and St. Louis. Then again, Capote, like Tennessee Williams, seems to have gotten around New Orleans more efficiently than the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar. It's hard to find a bar in the French Quarter that doesn't claim one or the other imbibed there.

Ah, imbibing. That's New Orleans' claim to fame. And though you may still think of her as a precocious kid from That Darn Cat, Ricci is old enough, after all, to have a drink. At the time of her visit, she probably needed one. The trip came just after Ricci wrapped up working on Cursed, a shoot she diplomatically calls "prolonged. "The studio didn't like where the movie was initially headed, so production was stopped and restarted twice. "I've basically been working on this movie for a year and a half," says Ricci.

In the film, she plays a movie publicist who is A) involved in a bad car crash, and B) attacked by a werewolf. Right. Werewolf. That's what Wes Craven, the Nightmare on Elm Street/Scream guy, does after all. "This is really a straight horror film," says Ricci. "Making it, there was tons of running around and fight scenes and gross special effects. And I was screaming. A lot."

Luckily, there's no shortage of cold beverages in the Crescent City to soothe those sore vocal chords. "We had drinks at The Columns,"Ricci says of The Columns Hotel in New Orleans' Uptown neighborhood. The Columns' bar - the Victorian Lounge - is rightly acclaimed as one of the best-looking watering holes in the city. Truman Capote, no doubt, drank there, if at least in spirit. "Wow.The bar and the hotel are both so beautiful," says Ricci. "We did cocktail hour there on the balcony. It was amazing."

It's also pretty upscale at the Victorian Lounge. And though Ricci appears these days in Louis Vuitton ads and even recently sashayed down a Paris runway for the design house, she's generally dressed casually. Where to drink in your denim, then? "There were two bars in New Orleans I really loved," says Ricci. "We saw a lot of live music at one of them. It's called One-Eyed Jack's and it's in the French Quarter. The other is called Pal's Lounge. It's in more of a residential area, called Mid-City. That place was so laid-back. I brought The Sheriff, my dog, and there were other dogs there."

Pal's is a hipster hangout that's a bit farther afield than a typical tourist might go on a New Orleans visit. But Ricci picked up the recommendation from the bar's owner (also the owner of One-Eyed Jack's). By coincidence - or not - the owner, Rio Hackford, has Hollywood connections. He had a small part in the film Swingers and his father, Taylor Hackford, directed An Officer and a Gentleman.

But we digress.

Ricci also caught live music at the Maple Leaf Bar, a narrow dance and music hall in New Orleans' Carrollton neighborhood, just down the street from Jacques Imo's, a restaurant favored by locals. "I can't remember who we saw at the Maple Leaf," she says. "But that was a good, fun place to hear music."