They had tried to sit out the storm but Hurricane Isaac had the final word, forcing thousands of Louisiana residents to flee their homes because of flooding.
New Orleans defences held but surrounding areas were not so well protected and water flooded over the top of a levy on the outskirts of the city.
“We had to break through the ceiling and come through the attic and they took us out of the attic into the boat,” said one rescued flood victim in the Braithwaite area. “It is very bad down there, very bad.”
Hurricane Isaac has left a trail of destruction. It has now been been downgraded to a Tropical Storm.
Fears had focussed on New Orleans, exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina killed 1,800 people in the region. Locals and holidaymakers took refuge in the historic French Quarter.
“We tried to fly out, so that didn’t work out,” said Kelly Cirifice, a tourist from Boston, taking shelter with her family in a bar.
“So we kind of hunkered down. We are used to snow storms but we didn’t get much sleep last night because we really didn’t know what was going to happen.”
While New Orleans’ barriers, built since Katrina, have stood firm, its people can’t breathe too much of a sign of relief. Tree limbs and street signs littered the streets and power has been lost in much of the city.