NEW ORLEANS — With thousands of residents stacked up at entrances to this city, impatient to return home after evacuating for Hurricane Gustav, Mayor C. Ray Nagin shifted course on Wednesday and ordered an immediate lifting of barriers blocking their entry here.The media (and perhaps meteorologists) over-hyped Gustav. Don't get me wrong...living for days without electricity sucks, but I seriously thought the outcome would be much worse.
People began trickling back to hot, dark homes on the emptied streets by Wednesday afternoon, as the city — and much of the state — is still mostly without electric power. Despite angry blasts from Gov. Bobby Jindal and even a plea from President Bush, utility officials gave no word on when electricity would be restored. But some residents said they had no choice but return, the intense heat and humidity here notwithstanding.
The return had been scheduled for early Thursday, but Mr. Nagin’s unexpected action was forced by a slow-moving humanitarian crisis, as residents, many of modest means in this poor city, reported running out of money to sustain a prolonged evacuation.