No matter which guide you consult, Jackson Square will always appear in the top 10 attractions in New Orleans and rightly so. From the magnificent St Louis Cathedral visited by pope John Paul II, lovely restaurants like Muriel's, the Andrew Jackson statue and gardens to street musicians, jesters and artists and surrounding stores and boutiques, there is something for everyone.
The city authorities could improve the streets by removing homeless (?) people. Who knows their true circumstances? London, England is full of 'professional' beggars. There is no doubt that their numbers do detract from New Orleans' appeal as a top tourist attraction but it seems to happen in most big cities.
They are just a very minor irritant in Jackson Square and no reason to avoid this great part of New Orleans. You must visit!