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Nagin re-opens New Orleans early

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Nagin re-opens New Orleans early
Tidal surge produced by hurricane Gustav floods areas of the Rigolets and Shell Beach near the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana on September 1, 2008. Hurricane Gustav made landfall 72 miles southwest of New Orleans Monday morning sparing most of the city. The storm caused flooding in parts of the low-lying parishes and put a strain on the cities level system. (UPI Photo/U.S. Coast Guard) | License Photo

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- New Orleans residents are free to return to their homes after Mayor Ray Nagin lifted checkpoints, officials said Wednesday.

The mayor had planned to keep the city closed for Hurricane Gustav repairs until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, but a flood of homesick residents arrived in city suburbs, The Times-Picayune reported.

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By 9 a.m., Nagin had lifted all police checkpoints entering New Orleans despite power outages and other infrastructure problems, the New Orleans newspaper reported.

"No one will be turned back if you have an identification card that you live in this area," Nagin said in a radio interview "This is not the best time for them to return, but so be it."

The city's unexpected re-opening caused some confusion among motorists and local law enforcement agencies, the newspaper reported.

The New York Times reported New Orleans was mostly spared by Hurricane Gustav. The newspaper said Tuesday that power remained off at nearly 80,000 homes in New Orleans and tree limbs cluttered city streets.

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