After raking Louisiana coast, Hurricane Isaac struck the Gulf Coast at 80-mph winds as the outer bands of hurricane-force winds and dangerous storm surge battered New Orleans, Los Angeles Times reported.
Fierce winds and heavy rains blacked out over 200,000 homes and businesses, CBS News noted.
The storm drew scrutiny as it arrived before the anniversary of hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans. Though several residents stayed put, evacuations were ordered in low-lying areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, where officials closed 12 shorefront casinos.
Ed Rappaport, Deputy Director, National Hurricane Center, said Isaac's core would pass west of New Orleans with winds close to 80 mph and head for Baton Rouge.
"We don't expect a Katrina-like event, but remember there are things about a Category 1 storm that can kill you," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, urging people to use common sense and to stay off any streets that may flood.
Isaac, identified as a Category 1 storm at present, is expected to linger along the Gulf Coast and inland areas for up to two days, Los Angeles Times noted, adding it will test the multibillion-dollar effort to improve a New Orleans flood-control system that failed in 2005.
With New Orleans essentially shut down, residents battled a siege of sorts, as the threat of tornadoes and extended power outages loomed large in the city that constantly battles high water.
The situation was just as tense along the Mississippi and Alabama coasts, which faced the same dire predictions as New Orleans: storm surges of 6 to 12 feet and rainfall totals of up to 20 inches in some areas, Los Angeles Times continued.
Several Army National Guard troops took up positions around New Orleans to ward off the threat of looting.
Even President Barack Obama urged residents to stay indoors or evacuate if told to do so. "Now's not the time to tempt fate," he said in brief comments Tuesday morning. "Listen to your local officials and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate," NBCNews reported.
Across the Gulf, regulators noted that 93 percent of the daily oil and 67 percent of the natural gas production in regulated areas was shut down due to the hurricane.
Isaac killed 22 people and caused significant damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic before striking the southern tip of Florida Sunday.
Here are recent images of people impacted by Hurricane Isaac around the Gulf Coast. Many are spending time in protected areas as they wait for the hurricane to cross over and lose its valor.