Famed New Orleans Evangelist Bob Harrington, known by many as “the Chaplain of Bourbon Street,” passed away of kidney failure on July 4.
Bob Harrington became a well-known evangelist during the 1960s and 1970s following his conversion to Christianity at age 30 in his hometown of Sweet Water, Alabama. He was a popular guest on national television shows including Phil Donahue, Merv Griffin and The Tonight Show due to his one-liners and unconventional religious wit. In the 1970’s, Bob met famed atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
The two toured the country debating the existence of God. He said of their encounters, “Yes, many may say Madalyn knows the Scriptures better than I do, but I know the author,”
Harrington’s eight-day Crusades, first held in tents and later high school stadiums and convention centers, produced thousands of converts.
In 1960, after only a few years of preaching throughout the South on flatbed trailers and in tents, Harrington moved to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with his wife Joyce, and daughters, Rhonda and Mitzi.
During his time in seminary, Harrington served as assistant pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans and continued his ministry as an itinerant evangelist.
Harrington began a street ministry armed with a microphone and a Bible – preaching in the bars and strip clubs of Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter.
In 1962, Mayor Victor Schiro proclaimed him “The Chaplain of Bourbon Street.”
Harrington spent the last seven years of his life in Stigler, Oklahoma. He was 89.