Nagin Comes to His Senses

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has suspended the return of evacuees to the city, citing the threat from strengthening Tropical Storm Rita.

Under pressure from President Bush and other top federal officials, the mayor Monday suspended the reopening of large portions of the city over the next few days because of the threat of a new round of flooding from a tropical storm.

“I am concerned about this hurricane getting in the gulf. … If we are off, I’d rather err on the side of conservatism to make sure we have everyone out,” Mayor Ray Nagin said.

The announcement came after repeated warnings from top federal officials — and the president himself — that the city was unsafe.

The mayor said his original plan was never intended to put people at risk.

“Now we have conditions that have changed. We have another hurricane that is approaching us,” he said. He warned that the city’s pumping system was not running at full capacity and that its levee system is still in a “very weak position.”

Whether it’s pressure from Bush or another hurricane threat, it is too soon to let tens of thousands of people back in this city when conditions remain as fragile as they are.

Nagin is doing the right thing.

Previously: Nagin has “Larry Vaughn” Syndrome

Others: WaPo |

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