US authorities are shutting up shop as tropical storm Karen whirls its way closer to the coast.
With the US government on shutdown the Federal Emergency Management Agency had to recall workers on unpaid leave to shore up their defences.
Evacuations have been ordered in low-lying areas of New Orleans in preparation for landfall early on Saturday.
One beachgoer was packing their bags: “We’re from Nashville and we are definitely leaving in the morning. Not sure what time but we are gonna leave.”
Jefferson Parish President John Young, said they were ready for the storm:
“It’s not our first rodeo, and we’re fully prepared and ready to execute whatever we have to do,” he said.
Top winds were holding at 85 kilometres per hour, down from 105 kph a day earlier. Though the National Hurricane Centre said the storm could strengthen they expect it won’t reach hurricane force.
Oil and gas output has halved in the Gulf of Mexico as workers are evacuated from platforms lying in Karen’s path.