New Orleans residents were today allowed to return to the city after Mayor Ray Nagin voided a mandatory evacuation order that led to police roadblocks being lifted more than 12 hours earlier than planned. Hurricane Gustav dealt only a glancing blow to New Orleans yesterday, prompting the mayor's announcement. Mr Nagin said residents who "jumped the gun" and headed back home before the city's planned opening on Thursday morning would be allowed to return. "All the roadblocks on main arteries have been cleared," said Joe Piglia, a Louisiana state trooper. "Traffic is light and I think everything has been resolved."
Meanwhile, the Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said National Guard soldiers exchanged gunfire with looters in a storm-struck area on Tuesday night. "I ask our people to be extremely vigilant about safety," Mr Jindal said. "If you don't need to be out on roads at night, don't go." The governor said the looters who "decided to take a shot at out National Guard men and women" escaped into the darkness in the neighbourhood, which was without power.