'Very religious' town ditches 666 area code

by Jennifer Riley, Christian Today US Correspondent
Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2007, 13:47 (GMT)

A small, highly religious town in southwest Louisiana has finally gained the right to change their 666 area code, which they consider a stigma.

For 40 years the town of Reeves, Louisiana, has battled to change the phone prefix, but has failed at least four times, Mayor Scott Walker told The Associated Press. But beginning this month, residents and businesses can apply to change their area code from 666 to 749.

“This boils down to, this is a very, very religious community,” Walker said, according to AP.

The town has three churches, two Bible and one Baptist, in a community with less than 450 homes.

In the Bible, the number 666 is marked on the beast which some interpret to be the antichrist or a Satan-possessed human. Moreover, those associating with the numbers 666 are considered to be aligning themselves with Satan.

Walker said he was contacted by residents earlier this year about changing the area code, and said a citizen poll found overwhelming support for the change. He worked with the phone company and the state Public Service Commission among others to secure the change.

“It’s been a black eye for our town, a stigma,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anything bad on us, just an image.”

He said whenever he gives people his phone number, they pause and then warn him that he needs to change the prefix.

“That’s what we’re trying to get rid of,” he said. “This is a good town …We’re good Christian people.”

Walker said the change is set to be official for City Hall on January 2 and noted that some 20 people contacted him Friday morning about making the change.