FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Big Bayou?

The Big Bayou is an international conference and social gathering of gay men of size and their admirers. This event serves a particular community commonly known as Chubs and Chasers; a vibrant sub-culture of the gay community at large. The Big Bayou is an event, held in New Orleans during the summer. The first event  held in New Orleans was in 2013 and had a large turn-out with close to  600 attendees representing over 20 different countries.  Due to the great success of the  2013 event and  the requests we received to bring it back NOLA we have organised The Big Bayou 2020. In short; The Big Bayou is primarily a social event to meet other people in our community. It is packed with social activities, excursions, and parties.

Who is running the event?

The Big Bayou is run and operated by Hefty Tour, LLC. Hefty Tour, LLC develops and plans the event under the continuous advice of community feedback. The primary goal is to offer a special program full of exciting events and activities at a great value. Hefty Tour, LLC is a socially conscious company, committed to causes that support LGBTQ organizations and agencies that serve the community or provide health services for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention.

When & where does this Big Bayou take place?

The dates for The Big Bayou 2020 event are Tuesday, September 1st through the Monday, September 7th, 2020. The Big Bayou will be held in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana (USA)

How do I register?

The quickest and most convenient way is to register at On Line Registration with a credit or debit card.

I am single. Should I go?

Yes! The Big Bayou is a great event if you are single. Whether you are a chub, bear or chaser, there are many other singles who attend our events. The Big Bayou is a great way to meet someone. If you ever felt out of place in typical social events because of your size or because of your attraction to big men, this is the event is for you. Check out our speed meet & greet events during our program. They are there to help you make the most of the program.

I am partnered. Should I go?

Yes! There are many partnered couples at our events. Many enjoy all the planned social activities, the parties and the opportunities to socialize and meet old or new friends. The Big Bayou will be what you make of it. It can be a great place to meet friends, participate in fun activities and enjoy a good time with like-minded folks. Check out our speed meet & greet events during our program. They are there to help you make the most of the program.

I live outside of United States. Can I participate?

Yes! International visitors are welcomed and encouraged! The Big Bayou will draw people from all over the world! At previous events we have had guests from over 20 different countries including Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Argentina, Japan, Brazil, China, Spain, Germany, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Belgium and many others. New Orleans also is a destination city and you will find a great selection of international airlines that service it. Stop by our Getting There page for more airline information. While English is the official language of the event, you will likely hear different languages spoken by other participants during our activities. Please be sure to review any possible visa requirements to enter the United States. If you need a visa to enter the US, we suggest you secure your visa before booking the event, hotel and flights.

How do I participate and how much does it cost?

You can book your event package through our On Line Registration. Packages start at introductory prices, then go up over time as the event dates approach. The earlier you book the more you can save on the registration packages. For a complete list of packages and their pricing please visit the Packages & Pricing page. Hotel rooms are not included with the event packages. The rooms start at a low $129 per night (plus tax & fees). During this busy summer weekend, hotel rates go up significantly, so be sure to book your hotel early to lock in the lowest possible price.

What is included with my registration package?

Every package includes everything you need to enjoy and participate in select Big Bayou events, activities and excursions. For more information on the event packages and what they include, please visit the Packages & Pricing page. Hotel lodging, and transportation to/from New Orleans is NOT included with any of the event packages. You must book your hotel and airfare separate from your event registration package.

What is the best time to register?

As soon as possible. The event is priced to sell quickly and have the largest possible turn out. With previous events, some of the event packages and activities sold out just weeks after it went on sale. Also, the hotel was sold out leaving many people who attended to stay at the overflow hotel. The event packages also get more expensive as we get closer to the event, and certain activities have capacity limits on the number of participants. Your desired package may be sold-out or priced significantly higher if you wait. Booking your event package and hotel now is highly recommended.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit or debit cards. Please note that all prices related to the event, and shown here on this site, are in US dollars (USD). International credit cards can be used and will be charged the USD amounts shown on the site. Your card-issuing bank will convert the amounts to your local currency at the bank’s daily exchange rate for the transaction.

Can i gift a package?

Yes. When you register for yourself, you will be asked how many packages. Just increase the number to total you and your gifts. If you also gift an excursion, that will show multiples as well. When you gift a package or excursion it will ask you to enter the recipient’s information on the package or excursion.

How is the charge going to show on my credit statement?

Your credit or debit card charge will discreetly show as “HEFTY TOUR – BIG BAYOU” on your statement.

Can I register by mail?

Yes, but please do so as early as possible. We cannot guarantee your package and hotel requests until we receive and process your order. Please allow for 48 hours after we receive your mail for processing. Pricing for packages will be based on the date that your letter was postmarked.

What is a promotion code?

Promotion codes are a way we can offer additional discounts. The promotions will be strictly for discounts on registration packages and may be given out on special occasions and promotions before the event. Promotion codes, if made available, will be published online (on this web site and our Facebook/Instagram account) or given directly to eligible participants.

When will my registration ordered be processed?

Online registrations are often processed and confirmed within 24 hours during normal business days. Mail orders about 48 hours after we receive them.

How do I check the status of my registration?

To see the status of your event registration order, just sign on to this website by clicking the My Account option. From the welcome page you can scroll down and see the status of your order.

My registration order was declined. How do I register again?

If your registration order is declined, you will have to go through the Registration process again to re-register.

How do i cancel my registration?

Please refer to the Cancellation Policy section in the Event Contract for information about canceling your registration. Then contact us with your request.

What is the host hotel?

The Royal Sonesta has been selected for the event. The Royal Sonesta offers an unprecedented value, great amenities, and a good location. The Sonesta is a boutique hotel in the heart of the French Quarter and offers room starting at $129 per night (plus taxes and fees.) Rooms at the Sonesta are VERY limited.

What is the promotional rate for big bayou?

The special rate for a room at the Royal Sonesta starts at $129 per night (plus taxes and fees). This rate is available Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The rate will then increase to $149 per night (plus taxes and fee.)

Do i have to stay at the host hotel to participate in the event?

No, but you are going to want too!… Being at the host hotel allows you to be where the all action is. Most events are held right at the hotel facilities. Also, the free transportation to excursions and events is provided only to and from the host hotel. However, you can still book your event package without staying at the Royal Sonesta. But be aware that some of the programmed events like the pool time may REQUIRE a hotel reservation and a registration package in order to attend. If you are not staying at the host hotel, some special events may have to be purchased separately, and in addition to your event registration. Please read the events and excursion descriptions for any special conditions for those not staying at the hotel.

How do I book the hotel?

In order to get the special Big Bayou 2020 rate for the Royal Sonesta, you MUST use the link given on the website.

Is the hotel payment charged in full?

No, when you book your reservation you give a credit to secure the room. No charges will be applied until you arrive or fail to arrive without cancelling. Please be aware that capacity is limited, and the rooms are expected to sell out.

will the hotel have internet access?

Yes. There is wireless Internet access in your room and is complementary.

How do I get to hotel from the airport?

Once you arrive at the airport you will need to pick up your baggage and then proceed to either a shuttle bus or taxi stand or the Uber/Lyft area. Taxi rides will take less than 30 minutes and will cost vary. Some rides may be shared with up to 4 persons. When going to the airport, Uber/Lyft and other drivers are allowed to drop off customers at the departure curbs at the terminal. When arriving in New Orleans, the pickup area is located on the lower level of the parking structure and there is signage and personnel to assist.

What are the excusrions about?

Excursions are extra activities that can be purchased to get the most out of your Big Bayou experience. At this event, we have a selection of great excursions you can participate in. Please see the Excursions page for a list and more information. Please note that some event packages already INCLUDE some excursions. Be sure to review your event package details and what it includes.

How do I purchase excusrions?

You can purchase new excursions or additional tickets from the Buy Extras & Excursions page. Some excursions have very limited capacity and are expected to sell out, so book early if you are interested. To purchase an excursion, you must first be registered for the event with the purchase of an event package.

How do I buy excursion for my friend or partner?

Each excursion package includes one ticket for a single person. If you are attending with a companion or friends, make sure you have the correct amount of excursion packages for all. All excursions REQUIRE an event registration as well. Thus, it is not possible to buy an excursion for a companion that is not registered to participate in the event. When using the Buy Extras & Excursions page, you can purchase multiple excursion tickets by adding the excursion multiple times to your shopping card. The number under the quantity column represents the number of tickets (persons) you are purchasing.

How do I cancel my purchased excursions?

Please refer to the Cancellation Policy section in the Event Contract for information about canceling your excursion purchases. Then contact us with your request. Cancellation fees may apply.

How do I login?

Click the My Account option on the menu. The web site will prompt for your username and password. If you don’t know your password you can click the “Forgot Password” link.

I forgot my password. How do i recover it?

If you have forgot your password use the following password reset link: Password Reset.

What is my event profile?

The event profile is where your personal event registration details are stored. We need this information to create your personalized event badge, keep in contact, and do your registration check-in for the event when you arrive.

Why does the event profile ask for my phone number?

We are expecting a large attendance to the event, and to help manage the large crowds efficiently, we will have an SMS (cell phone text messaging) service at the event. This will allow us to send text message alerts to your mobile phone during the event. These messages will be strictly limited to important event announcements, reminders, and alerts (e.g., “your excursion is about to start. please meet us at the lobby”). Please note that your cell phone number and personal information will not be shared with other participants. Also, the SMS service is limited to the event dates only and if you opt-in for this service you will only receive SMS alerts during the event (not before nor after).

Can i do more than one shift?

Yes! Please apply. We need reliable, dependable people during the event. Those available for and committed to multiple shifts will be given priority assignment.

What happens if i cannot make it to a shift?

Being on time to a shift is very important! The entire team relies on your commitment to volunteer. We do know things do come up; if you are not able to make it to your shift, please call the phone number of the Volunteer Coordinator or let us know at the registration desk.

Do I have to attend the volunteer and staff session?

The session is a place to pick up your volunteer Polo shirts, talk with event staff and get help with any questions you might have. The sessions is highly recommended for volunteers and staff, but not required. If you are unable to attend, you will be required to meet with the Volunteer Coordinator in person to get your assigned tasks and discuss your responsibilities as a volunteer.

How do i register?

The quickest and most convenient way is to register at On Line Registration with a credit or debit card.

Can I gift a package?

Yes.  When you register for yourself, you will be asked how many packages.  Just increase the number to total you and your gifts.  If you also gift an excursion, that will show multiples as well. When you gift a package or excursion it will ask you to enter the recipient’s information on the package or excursion.

How is the charge going to show on my credit statment?

Your credit or debit card charge will discreetly show as “HEFTY TOUR – BIG BAYOU” on your statement.

Can i register by mail?

Yes, but please do so as early as possible. We cannot guarantee your package and hotel requests until we receive and process your order. Please allow for 48 hours after we receive your mail for processing. Pricing for packages will be based on the date that your letter was postmarked.

What is a promotion code?

Promotion codes are a way we can offer additional discounts. The promotions will be strictly for discounts on registration packages and may be given out on special occasions and promotions before the event. Promotion codes, if made available, will be published online (on this web site and our Facebook/Instagram account) or given directly to eligible participants.

When will my registration order be processed?

Online registrations are often processed and confirmed within 24 hours during normal business days. Mail orders about 48 hours after we receive them.

How do i check the status of my registration?

To see the status of your event registration order, just sign on to this website by clicking the My Account option. From the welcome page you can scroll down and see the status of your order.

My registration order was declined. How do i register again?

If your registration order is declined, you will have to go through the Registration process again to re-register.

How do i cancel my registration?

Please refer to the Cancellation Policy section in the Event Contract for information about canceling your registration. Then contact us with your request.

What is the host hotel?

The Royal Sonesta has been selected for the event. The Royal Sonesta offers an unprecedented value, great amenities, and a good location. The Sonesta is a boutique hotel in the heart of the French Quarter and offers room starting at $129 per night (plus taxes and fees.) Rooms at the Sonesta are VERY limited.

What is the promotional rate for Big Bayou?

The special rate for a room at the Royal Sonesta starts at $129 per night (plus taxes and fees).  This rate is available Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  The rate will then increase to $149 per night (plus taxes and fee.)

Do I have to stay at the host hotel to participate in the event?

No, but you are going to want too!… Being at the host hotel allows you to be where the all action is. Most events are held right at the hotel facilities. Also, the free transportation to excursions and events is provided only to and from the host hotel. However, you can still book your event package without staying at the Royal Sonesta. But be aware that some of the programmed events like the pool time may REQUIRE a hotel reservation and a registration package in order to attend. If you are not staying at the host hotel, some special events may have to be purchased separately, and in addition to your event registration. Please read the events and excursion descriptions for any special conditions for those not staying at the hotel.

How do i book the hotel?

In order to get the special Big Bayou 2020 rate for the Royal Sonesta, you MUST use the link given on the website.

Is the hotel payment charged in full?

No, when you book your reservation you give a credit to secure the room.  No charges will be applied until you arrive or fail to arrive without cancelling. Please be aware that capacity is limited, and the rooms are expected to sell out.

Will the hotel have internet access?

Yes. There is wireless Internet access in your room and is complementary.

How do i get to the hotel from the airport?

Once you arrive at the airport you will need to pick up your baggage and then proceed to either a shuttle bus or taxi stand or the Uber/Lyft area. Taxi rides will take less than 30 minutes and will cost vary. Some rides may be shared with up to 4 persons. When going to the airport, Uber/Lyft and other drivers are allowed to drop off customers at the departure curbs at the terminal. When arriving in New Orleans, the pickup area is located on the lower level of the parking structure and there is signage and personnel to assist.

What are the excursions about?

Excursions are extra activities that can be purchased to get the most out of your Big Bayou experience. At this event, we have a selection of great excursions you can participate in. Please see the Excursions page for a list and more information. Please note that some event packages already INCLUDE some excursions. Be sure to review your event package details and what it includes.

How do I purchase excursions ?

You can purchase new excursions or additional tickets from the Buy Extras & Excursions page. Some excursions have very limited capacity and are expected to sell out, so book early if you are interested. To purchase an excursion, you must first be registered for the event with the purchase of an event package.

How do I buy excursions for my friend or partner?

Each excursion package includes one ticket for a single person. If you are attending with a companion or friends, make sure you have the correct amount of excursion packages for all. All excursions REQUIRE an event registration as well. Thus, it is not possible to buy an excursion for a companion that is not registered to participate in the event. When using the Buy Extras & Excursions page, you can purchase multiple excursion tickets by adding the excursion multiple times to your shopping card. The number under the quantity column represents the number of tickets (persons) you are purchasing.

How do I cancel my purchased excursions ?

Please refer to the Cancellation Policy section in the Event Contract for information about canceling your excursion purchases. Then contact us with your request. Cancellation fees may apply.

How do I login?

Click the My Account option on the menu. The web site will prompt for your username and password. If you don’t know your password you can click the “Forgot Password” link.

I forgot my password? How do i recover it?

If you have forgot your password use the following password reset link: Password Reset.

What is my event profile?

The event profile is where your personal event registration details are stored. We need this information to create your personalized event badge, keep in contact, and do your registration check-in for the event when you arrive.

Why does the event profile ask for my phone number?

We are expecting a large attendance to the event, and to help manage the large crowds efficiently, we will have an SMS (cell phone text messaging) service at the event. This will allow us to send text message alerts to your mobile phone during the event. These messages will be strictly limited to important event announcements, reminders, and alerts (e.g., “your excursion is about to start. please meet us at the lobby”). Please note that your cell phone number and personal information will not be shared with other participants. Also, the SMS service is limited to the event dates only and if you opt-in for this service you will only receive SMS alerts during the event (not before nor after).

Can i do more than one shift?

Yes! Please apply. We need reliable, dependable people during the event. Those available for and committed to multiple shifts will be given priority assignment.

What happens if i can not make it to a shift?

Being on time to a shift is very important! The entire team relies on your commitment to volunteer. We do know things do come up; if you are not able to make it to your shift, please call the phone number of the Volunteer Coordinator or let us know at the registration desk.

Do I have to attend the volunteer and staff sessions?

The session is a place to pick up your volunteer Polo shirts, talk with event staff and get help with any questions you might have. The sessions is highly recommended for volunteers and staff, but not required. If you are unable to attend, you will be required to meet with the Volunteer Coordinator in person to get your assigned tasks and discuss your responsibilities as a volunteer.

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