NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 19 – Under pressure from President Bush and with a new storm threatening the Gulf of Mexico, Mayor C. Ray Nagin suspended on Monday his controversial plan to allow people to return to this vulnerable city.

As New Orleans struggles to get back on its feet, it could be months before business returns to normal.Roy McGinnis, who fled the hurricane with his family, returned Monday to his home in New Orleans for the first time in three weeks. “I can’t take another evacuation,” he said. Instead Mr. Nagin called for a “mandatory” evacuation of many of the residents who have returned or never left.

“This is a different type of event,” the mayor said of the storm, Rita. “Our levee systems are still in a very weak condition. Our pumping stations are not at full capacity, and any type of storm that heads this way and hits us will put the east bank of Orleans Parish in very significant harm’s way. So I’m encouraging everyone to leave.”

The mayor reversed himself hours after Mr. Bush had questioned whether it was safe for residents to return. The president reiterated warnings by Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, leader of the federal recovery effort, that the levee system was weakened, that the 911 emergency telephone system was not working, that the hospitals remained closed and that pollutants were in the air and water. More…

Mayor Nagin finally comes to his senses after being pressured by the administration. One does have to wonder about his sense judgement and competence when he approved allowing people back into such a monumental health hazard with a tropical storm bearing down on the south east again. If another levee gave out with those people in the city and it flooded again, I wonder who he would be blaming for those potential casualties?