Graham '71 Crusade Airs as New Orleans Festival Kicks Off

Nearly 35 years ago, Billy Graham preached to 326,300 people for 11 summer nights in Chicago where 11,889 people responded to the invitation to accept Jesus Christ. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is offering that same experience to the public today in a special broadcast of the classic 1971 message.

The television special begins Mar. 11 and will be aired for over a week, giving people a chance to hear the gospel message from the evangelist whose worldwide crusades came to an end last June.

"It's one thing for a man to die for somebody who's good. But for someone to die for somebody who's sinful and evil - we can't comprehend that in our culture. Yet that's exactly what Jesus Christ did," said Graham at the Chicago crusade.

Graham recently arrived in New Orleans where he took his first look at the devastation that Katrina wrought onto the Gulf Coast. He plans to deliver a sermon at the Celebration of Hope festival on Sunday - his first time preaching in public since his final crusade in New York City.

The Celebration event comes nearly seven months after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast at the requests of local area pastors who have for years prayed for a spiritual awakening.

About 800 pastors met with both the elder Graham and son on Thursday, days before the second 2006 Franklin Graham festival was to kick off.

Referring to Job in the Old Testament, Billy Graham said, "God restored him, and God is going to do that for you. I believe that."

To check local listings for the upcoming program, visit