About 1,800 homes and business flooded in coastal Cameron Parish as the storm churned toward expected landfall in Texas, said Gov. Bobby Jindal, and he expected water to eventually inundate all 2,900 homes in the area. Flooded homes were reported in other parishes, though numbers were sketchy at nightfall.
Flooding was reported in areas from Plaquemines Parish in southeast Louisiana to Cameron Parish on the Texas line.
"It's going to be devastating for people," said Cameron Parish emergency preparedness director Clifton Hebert. "We don't have the wind that Rita brought, but we have at least the same storm surge, if not a little more."
In nearby Terrebonne Parish, crews worked to plug at least four breaches. Officials said areas in which Rita inundated 10,000 homes in 2005 were vulnerable again.
More than 160 people were rescued from flooding Friday, Jindal said.
About 130 people remained in the fishing community on the barrier island of Grand Isle after storm surge cut off the only road to the mainland, said Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Jindal said search and rescue teams would head to the island as soon as wind abated and water receded.
He told residents they could break into a state wildlife and fisheries lab that was deemed a safe structure. He called it "the most unusual piece of advice I might give."
More than 100,000 customers were without electricity Friday night, a number that also included some customers who lost power in Gustav, the Louisiana Public Service Commission said.