Supposedly, some sort of placard exists that would help people re-enter. Unfortunately, C Ray and his inept minions neglected to tell us how to obtain said placards either before Gustav or subsequently. As a business owner, I should in theory be in the third tier and be able to return tomorrow. BUT all I have is my occupational license. And I don't feel like waving that at some burly guardsman with an automatic weapon. I suppose the info about the re-entry placards is another state secret like C Ray's schedule.
I think this is utterly unhelpful. And, furthermore, if they want to have a crush of folks returning all at once, making all of our return trips as unnecessarily painful as the exodus, then wait until later before allowing people to come home. If the situation is as reports indicate, they should let anyone return who wants to return anytime after midnight tonight -- with or without power. Some of us have generators, food, fans, and water waiting at home, not to mention our own beds.
How will people who were reluctant to leave or who spent 20 hours in traffic supposed to react next time a hurricane blows through? They will damn sure consider this the next time they are asked to leave their homes and possesions for the mother of all storms.
From reading the comments on nola.com, I'd say that was a legitimate fear. People already expect horrendous traffic getting back into the city, and the traffic is likely to be horrendous whether they return on Thursday or Friday or whenever the parishes are "opened." But if there's a sense that regular residents are being kept out (particularly when others are being let in), a lot of folks will think twice about getting out next time.