What's so “Naughty” in New Orleans?
For the past 20+ years, Bob and Tess Hannaford host the Naughty N'awlins Lifestyle convention in New Orleans.
Naughty N'awlins is a sex positive convention. Thousands of people attend this event each year. Many are looking to explore their sexuality in a sex positive environment.
This event is one of the largest events of its kind in the world. It features numerous entertainment, seminars, classes, and various other activities throughout the entire event.
Our last visit was in 2019 and we had plans to return the following year. We all know what happened next! Fast forward to today, and we're on our way back in 2022 for some new adventures!
Day 1: Traveling to New Orleans and Arrival
Before we get into the travel day, you should be aware of the chaos that takes place the 36+ hours before leaving.
Packing: UGH!!! If you've traveled for business or vacation, then you already know how terrible it is to pack. Our trips include what most others take with them, clothing, toiletries, etc. In addition, we take laptops, various electronics, backup cell phones for work (club business), as well as a few “naughty” items.
Flying out of Pittsburgh, which is where we currently live and work, is not super convenient. Almost all flight travel results in a connecting flight. As you already know, connecting flights suck, and not in the good way. If you can fly direct, it's highly recommended.
Normally we try to travel light, which means a backpack each and purse for Marilu. Somehow we managed to pack three checked bags and two carry-ons. Thankfully, the two carry-ons are backpacks, so that helps. Not sure how people travel for weeks and months without taking a gazillion bags.
One item that helps when traveling (thanks Bob and Aaron for the recommendation), is what amounts to be the modern day “fanny pack”. Instead of going around your waist, it slings over your body like a sash. Do I look like a dork wearing it, of course! Do I care? Nope!
Arriving at Naughty
This is the boring part, there isn't much to write about our arrival. Flights ran smoothly, our Uber driver showed up in a Toyota 4Runner. Therefore, we didn't have to ride on the outside of a Prius (which I think are incredible cars), while our 5+ bags rode inside. It did, however, start to rain when we arrived in NOLA and by rain, I mean heavy thunderstorms that literally caused flooding in the streets (thankfully we were in a 4Runner). It was so bad the Uber driver mentioned it doesn't usually rain like this in NOLA. They suggested Marilu and I brought the terrible rain with us (joking of course).
After checking in, which went smoothly, we stopped to visit friends who were setting up the ballrooms for the event. Rockin' Ronnie is one of the original DJs from Studio 54, (yes, that Studio 54) and they handle all the sound and light production for the event. Ronnie also DJs during the event, and kills it each time he gets behind the “1's and 2's” (do they still call them that?) . Kasidie is one of the sponsors of the event, so their swag is all over the place, including dance poles and light up stages!
After that, we worked a shift at the registration table for the event, checking in guests. What a gift that turned out to be. We had the opportunity to check in Den Temin, founder of Sexplore with Den Temin. We have not seen Den since the Couples Cruise in 2017. That literally made my day, they are one of the most amazing humans I've ever met!
The day ended with a fun dinner with Ronnie at a local restaurant, and an early bedtime for Marliu and I! Stay tuned for day two updates! More to come!
Day 2: The start of the convention and setup
The day started with helping set up the 20,000 square foot Tantra Center, which holds all the event play areas. This area has numerous themed rooms, including one of the biggest group play rooms I've ever seen. The other play rooms include: The Dungeon, The Plus One Room, The Dark Room, The Bi-Play Room, The Toy Room, Ladies Only Room, along with various other types of playroom. It's a sight to behold!
Next is the booth setup for safersex.com and Marilu and You. The booth table will have literature about consent, safer sex practices, and 2,000+ safer sex condoms. The hope is to have conversations with event guests about safer sex and how the sex-positive communities can work together to actually make sex safer for as many people as possible.
This is the first time safersex.com has set up a booth at an event. There is a lot of excitement about being here. It would be a lie to say we're not a bit nervous also. While safersex.com is about safer sex, it is also about gender and sexuality inclusiveness. Discussing the various genders and sexualities that are not fully accepted yet can be a challenge. The main goal is to educate in hopes that more people understand that gender and sexuality are important in all its forms, not just those that are “main stream”.
The First Ballroom event:
There are plenty of things to do throughout the day, even on the first day of the event. There are daily pool parties, Boubron Street parties, seminars, classes and just general socializing. Some event venture out to the world famous Colettes, which is down the street from the convention. What many guests look forward to are the main ballroom events!
The Erotic Lingerie Ball:
Safer Sex was fortunate enough to find a great place to set up the table. It was situated between both ballrooms, and it seemed to generate a lot of attention. Looking back on it this morning, I think it was the 6lbs of free candy mints though. No one likes kissing with bad breath! It was nice to see how many people picked up safer sex condoms. It meant that while they were there to have fun, it was not going to be at the expense of their health, or worse yet, their life.
“Those condoms are too small”
Trojan did a magnificent job promoting their Magnum condoms for “larger” penises. As seen in the photo, this is a typical safer sex condom, sized as most condoms are sized. It's important to be comfortable, and admittedly, putting on condoms can be challenging, especially for those with “larger” penises. For anyone to say they don't fit, well that is not based in any fact.
Reconnecting with old friends:
Earlier this year, Marilu and I went on our first Temptation Cruise. At the risk of sounding like a shameless plug, we had a blast and met some amazing people. Silvina, pictured on the left, represents Temptation Cruises, and they are as charming and witty as they are beautiful. It's difficult to get time to chat with them, because they bring so much positive energy with them that they attract a crowd. Therefore, any time they take to say hello is a gift, and it's genuinely appreciated.
Meeting and making new friends:
It's not often you meet the people you consider mentors. Marilu and I were getting ready to wrap things up at the Safer Sex table when Dragonfly and their partner Erik (AKA, MR. Dragonfly) approached the table to chat with us. Drangonfly has been in the sex-positive industry for many years, and they have become industry leaders and mentors. Needless to say, both Marilu and I were star struck and honored to meet these two wonderfully warm and genuine people. If you are interested in learning more about Dragonfly and somatic sexology, visit their website at pureorgasmiclove.com.
Wrapping up day 2:
At the end of day two, Marilu and I were exhausted and in bed by 1AM….to sleep! 😉
Day 3: Things get wild!
Day 3 started like most other days, coffee! Marilu was thoughtful enough to walk down to Cafe' Beignet and came back with an iced Cafe' au late, YAY!! We initially thought it would be a quiet day, as we were scheduled to help with event registration that afternoon. Due to it being a bit slower, they allowed us to leave early. There was a catch though, we would have to be back in the evening to help with the Tantra Center (play rooms).
So what do we do now?
If you are only reading this for the naughty photos, there's going to be some disappointment. Photos and video are not permitted inside the actual events and Tantra Rooms. As a result, you'll have to use your naughty imagination!
We stepped outside the convention hotel and started to walk towards the Foam Party. A few steps into the walk, there was a realization that there was a line to get in. By line, I mean a line that seemed like a quarter mile long that snaked down the street and halfway around the corner of Bourbon and Iberville. Our instincts were to say “forget it” because the line was so long and its been muggy and hot all week. Suffice to say, we went got in line. It's a good thing we did!
Foam Party with DJ Rockin' Ronnie!
Fortunately, the line was due to the event not being open yet. Once the doors opened, the line went away quickly! It wasn't long before The Beach on Bourbon was packed with hundreds of naughty attendees. As usual, we make our way to the front of the stage area. It isn't necessarily a thought of being in front, it just sorta happens. Rockin' Ronnie is the MC for the entertainment portion of the show. Illest Rich helps bring it all together with the music. This combination of these two talents is synergistic, and the crowd responds accordingly!
Ronnie has decades of experience MCing events, and he knows how to work the crowd. He invited ladies up on stage to dance and show off…topless! To be clear, this is an opportunity for those to express themselves in a manner that may not be available to them otherwise. This is one of the reasons for this entire convention, embracing sexual freedom!
It was a beautiful sight to behold. A stage full of semi nude people all expressing themselves in a way that allows them to feel confident and sexy. All the while, the crowd fully supporting them and being part of the experience.
While this was going on inside the club area, just outside in the courtyard of the space, the foam machine is running. This machine pumps out foam into the courtyard, and the crowd frolicking around in it are clearly loving it! They are jumping in and out of the foam, “throwing” it around and pouring bubbles onto each either. While we didn't personally participate, it was a blast none-the-less.
Working the playrooms
I can't say too much about the playroom experience. Marilu and I agreed to “swap” shifts and work the Tantra Center so we didn't get an opportunity to enjoy it. We were asked were asked if anyone had experience running the Sybian machine. Not knowing the context for the question, I chimed in with “WE DO”.
Immediately when the shift supervisor reacted with excitement, I became concerned for what I had just roped us into. As it turns out, Marilu was responsible for running it while I maintained a section of the Tantra Center. If you don't know what a Sybian is, you can check it out here. Marilu's first “rider” was a gentleman who has never experienced it before and she was happy to help! There will be more on Marilu's experience as the “Sybian Engineer” on her website (blog post coming soon).
The night ended around 2:30AM, exhausted. We climbed into bed for some much-needed sleep. It was an incredible day!
DAY 4: Seminars and Sexual Freedom Parade
The day started with a seminar from our favorite sexologist, Den Temin of Sexplore. The first time we met Den was at one of their seminars a few years earlier. Listening and watching Den speak fills our souls with love. Thank you Den! The next seminar we attended was with somatic sexologist, Dragonfly and their partner E (Erik). The seminar focused primarily on breath work. Dragonfly and E make the experience sexy, fun and informative.
Sexual Freedom Parade
This parade is something that means a lot to the sex-positive community. Each year for the past 18 years, Bob and Tess have hosted the Sexual Freedom Parade during Naughty N'walins. This year the parade route took us down the Canal Street which is one of the main streets in Downtown New Orleans. 2,000+ people, dressed in white, marched down Canal Street. Many parade attendees made signs and banners and marched along with parade floats.
At the same time, the Naughty convention is taking place, there was another convention near by. The convention appeared to be for those who are sight impaired. The parade made its way down Canal Street, and turned onto Peters Street. Two people, one using a white cane, appeared next to Marilu and I.
Initially, we thought they were trying to cross the street, and they were invited to do so. Rather than crossing the street, they joined the parade and danced to the band playing in front of us. They marched all the way down to Decatur Street when the parade turned to make its way to the House of Blues. We cheered them on as they continued on to wherever they were going.
After Party at House of Blues
The after party started with a good friend, DJ Sante of Denver. Sante packed the dance floor with some EDM while several rope suspension shows took place. The next shows were a drag performance, and followed by a silk aerialist. The night ended with a musical set by the world famous Cha Wha Band! After a long day of seminars, marching in a parade, and dancing for 3+ hours, we left House of Blues and headed over the Brother's Chicken for their incredible fried chicken.
Day 5: The last day
Most of the day was spent relaxing and getting ready for the final night. We attended a few meet-n-greets and watched the infamous Jen Porter perform in the downstairs lounge. The final event featured DJ Ronnie and the entire Naughty Crew on stage. This is when a new “King and Queen” are announced and crowned for the 2022-23 year. It was exciting to see good friends John and Shelia Davis of World Exotic Travel crowned this years King and Queen.
A year ago, Shelia, a flight nurse, was diagnosed with cancer. It was a year long battle riddled with chemo treatments and various complications. Shelia is cancer free today. There's no doubt that John's undying love and support helped carry her through this terrible time in their lives. Experiencing the love and support of the sex-positive community at the event was beautiful!
After the King and Queen announcement, the entire Naughty staff passed out rubber duckies and tossed beads into the crowd from the stage. Tess was dressed in a “Devil Duckie” costume. It's still not clear to me what the duckies were for or meant. Bob came over and handed me a rubber duckie. “Bob, I have no ideas what these ducks are for.” Bob's response: “Neither do I!” LOL!
“Bob, I have no ideas what these ducks are for.” Bob's response: “Neither do I!” LOL!
Many people mirror the story of Shelia, battling and surviving cancer. Unfortunately, many others do not survive. A part of sexual freedom is living your best life, moment by moment, experience by experience. Many survivors of cancer and other devastating illnesses have said their illnesses were a gift, a gift that completely changed their perspective on life, for the better.
It's not necessary for anyone to live through a traumatic experience or life threatening illness to change your perspective or open your mind to new experiences. If you are interested in opening your mind and exploring your sexuality with thousands of others, you should consider attending Naughty N'awlins in 2023. We hope to see you there next year!