'Chaplain of Bourbon Street' Bob Harrington Dies at 89

Bob Harrington
Bob Harrington (Courtesy)

Famed New Orleans evangelist Bob Harrington, known by many as "the Chaplain of Bourbon Street," passed away of kidney failure on July 4 in Stigler, Oklahoma, where he had lived the last seven years with family. He was 89.

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 1970s, Bob met famed atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair. The two could not have been more polar opposite people. "Yes, many may say Madalyn knows the Scriptures better than I do, but I know the author," said Harrington. The unlikely duo toured 38 cities debating the existence of God.

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.

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