NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Jackson Square is one of the most photographed tourist spots in the French Quarter. Located in front of the historic St. Louis Cathedral, it is home to an assortment of street performers, artists and other characters who give New Orleans its eclectic charm.
But Jackson Square also is home to a darker element — tarot card readers, fortunetellers and others who dabble in the supernatural.
“There’s a demonic presence here and you can feel the darkness,” said North American Mission Board’s Inner City Evangelism team member Mark Martin. “There is a spirit of oppression in this place.”
Martin, along with a handful of other evangelical Christians, invaded Jackson Square on Feb. 1 to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the sidewalk merchants. The evangelism walks were based in nearby Vieux Carre Baptist Church as part of an evangelism strategy for Super Bowl XXXVI.
Many of the merchants accepted the gospel literature, but some were verbally abusive and confrontational.
While Martin was speaking with a fortuneteller, a man dressed in black lunged at him and ordered him to back away. Martin respectfully declined as the man cursed and shouted at him.
Undeterred by the incident, Martin and his team continued their work.
“There is such a need for Christians to prayerwalk Jackson Square,” Martin said. “We need a constant saturation of prayer.”
At one point a group of young people dressed in black backed away from Martin as he offered them material.
“Get that hideous stuff away from me,” one of the unidentified young people yelled.
“They run from it,” Martin said of the gospel. “Light will dispel the darkness. That’s why we’re here.”
See additional coverage of Baptist ministries at the Super Bowl at BPSports, www.bpsports.net. (BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: CONFRONTING EVIL AND PREPARING TO SHARE.