Hurricane Gustav evacuees face uneasy homecoming

Beth Hogan
Beth Hogan
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin

By Jay Gray

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (KHNL) - Workers across south Louisiana are cleaning up the debris from hurricane Gustav.

But officials are still keeping an eye on floodwaters and have told evacuees to stay away for a bit longer.

For many of the almost 2 million evacuees, an uneasy tension over Gustav has given way to frustration.

"I just want to get on with my life, move back," said evacuee Courtney Jones.

Those who moved to higher ground now want to go home and see what the storm left behind.

"I'm definitely anxious to go home, even though I have no idea what's going to be there," said evacuee Beth Hogan.

We think that it is very important that people be allowed to come back as soon as it is safe to do so and resume their normal lives and we want to do that," said Louisiana Governor Bobby India.

But state and local leaders say it's not safe to return yet the damage is too intense.

The levees, and flood walls held, but there was some over-topping that left flooding to deal with across south Louisiana.

Recovery teams have started clearing away debris..

And power crews are working to restore electricity to more than 800-thousand who were left in the dark.

We are in pretty decent shape, but right now we still have power outages, need to repair our sewer system and the hospitals are still not ready," said New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.

The state must also undertake the massive effort to coordinate the buses trains and planes used to shuttle thousands to safety that will now make the return trip.

An anxious and uneasy journey, to an area that again begins the difficult task of recovery.

Parts of tangible parish have opened but in the hardest hit areas in the south residents may not be allowed back in until sometime early next week.