New Orleans Mayor: Don't Come Home Yet

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Residents along the Gulf Coast are breathing a sigh of relief. Hurricane Gustav battered parts of Louisiana, but didn't deliver the brutal beating many feared.

Now, evacuees are saying they want to come home Tuesday, but New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin warned they may have to wait in shelters and motels a few days longer.

A mandatory evacuation order is still in effect for city officials to clear the streets, restore power lines and assess any additional repairs.

"Hopefully, we will have everything in order, where we can, later on this week, we can have our citizens to start to come to back into the city," Nagin said.

Although Gustav has been downgraded to a tropical depression, the storm still has the potential to unleash up to 20 inches of rain in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

But initial fears in the Big Easy had been the levees: Would they hold after three years of repairs?

"If water is coming over the wall over there. Time to go," a local said.

Flood waters topped the levee walls and turned streets into canals, but none of the levees were breached.

Those who stayed behind were fortunate this time around.

"It wasn't too bad. I ain't have to spend all kinds of money to get out of here trying to find somewhere to go. I could have just stayed home in my own bed," another local said.

Others who evacuated wish they had weathered the storm.

"I wish we would of stayed at home because the buses were horrible," one resident said.

"This is neighbors in Texas helping neighbors in Louisiana. Same story we had three years, substantially better coordinated this time," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.

More than 1 million people don't have power.

"It could take in some areas two weeks or more to get everybody back on line," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

And while residents in shelters are eager to return home, others are more cautious.

"We are just waiting it out, hopefully we will be home by tomorrow," another resident said.

And more storms are lining up in the Atlantic. Hurricane Hanna is already hammering the Bahamas and may hit the U.S. The National Hurricane Center is tracking two other storms.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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