A family carries bags of ice and boxes of food from an aid distribution center for victims of Isaac on August 31 in New Orleans. The center was one of three in the city operated by the military. Many residents still don't have power. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS - Isaac may no longer be a hurricane or tropical storm, but the Gulf Coast is still recovering from its massive wake, with rain, flooding and power outages still rampant Friday, hampering cleanup and recovery efforts heading into Labor Day weekend.
Now classified as a tropical depression, Isaac is still cause for concern. Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois were braced for Isaac-related weather. National Weather Service flood and flash-flood watches and warnings remain in parts of Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Because of all the rain, rivers could crest at their highest levels in years.
President Obama will visit Louisiana on Monday to examine water and wind damage, while Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney toured flooded Jean Lafitte with town officials and emergency workers Friday, saying he hoped his visit would draw public attention to victims' needs.
Residents and work crews across Louisiana were turning to the soggy business of cleaning up after Isaac drove thousands from their homes and swallowed neighborhoods with storm surge.
Statewide, 5,186 residents remain in shelters - a drop of about 1,000 from Thursday, with the Red Cross closing some shelters in the state, Gov. Bobby Jindal said. The Louisiana Public Service Commission reported that about 30% of the state - 640,735 homes and businesses - remained without power.
Louisiana's Health Department issued boil advisories for 320 water systems in 28 parishes, urging residents to disinfect water before drinking, brushing teeth, cooking or preparing food.
U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Robert Parker said the Mississippi River and ports at Mobile and New Orleans had reopened and were safe for most ships.
Some major roadways, such as Interstate 55 and U.S. 61, reopened. But state police were keeping watch on swollen rivers expected to crest over the weekend and possibly spill over roads, said Capt. Doug Cain, a Louisiana State Police spokesman. "We still have some challenges ahead of us," said Cain said.