A 40-Year Battle Won

Reported by: Katie Lopez

Along a two lane stretch of highway lies the village of Reeves, located in Allen Parish.  In spite of the town's small size, residents have been putting up a big fight - for 40 years - to change the 666 prefix in their telephone numbers.

That battle is finally being laid to rest, as residents shed what most would consider the "mark of the beast."

Reeves Mayor, Scott Walker says, "I think it's one of the greatest events that has happened in Reeves, Louisiana, and I've got to give God the honor and praise for it."

Youth Minister, Michael Moore said, "Numbers do represent things for a lot of people and because they represent things I think it's best they would change."  City Council member, Janice Brown adds, "I think it's great...it's wonderful for our community and for the whole country to know that we're just not going to have it."

For some people in Reeves, though, the number is just a number.

Johnny Ellender said that he has had this prefix since he was a young boy, so changing it now would just give him more numbers to remember.  "There's been a lot of superstition around here for a long time," says Ellender, "I don't see anything wrong but I guess everyone's trying to move in a better direction."

For others in this largely religious community, the number change has a far deeper meaning.  Moore says, "It has always been a strange thing to live under because according to scripture 666 represents the mark of the antichrist. It's kind of nice, at this point, for us when you think about the time of season it took place."

"When you give your phone number to someone," says Brown, "and you say that 666 they say oh my goodness, oh my goodness."

For a town that has been fighting this battle for forty years, they are finally getting the media attention they deserve.  "A television station out of Toronto, Canada called to go live with a phone interview with them," says Mayor Walker, "CNN called last night and it was on CNN."

*Mayor Walker says residents are not required to change their numbers, but they can by contacting the phone company.  The 666 prefix will be changed to 749 and switching within the next 90 days is free.