By Matthew Hinton, AP
Ron Steward wipes his brow next to the house of his mother, Clara Williams, in Ironton, La., on Monday near Louisiana Hwy 23 in Plaquemines Parish. The house was built seven years ago after her previous home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
NEW ORLEANS - After enduring an extended rain deluge and flood threat from slow-moving Hurricane Isaac, Louisiana emergency officials were turning Monday to the arduous work of returning displaced residents to homes, fixing flood-wrecked neighborhoods and capturing federal disaster assistance.
As of Monday morning, more than 3,000 residents remained in shelters across the state, said Christina Stephens, a spokeswoman with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. That's down from more than 7,000 at the height of the storm.
Getting those residents back into their communities - whether in their homes or nearby apartments or hotels - is a top focus for emergency officials, she said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently approved individual assistance funding for residents in nine parishes, Stephens said. State officials hope the federal agency expands that to an additional 14 parishes.
So far, 65,000 Louisiana residents have applied for federal disaster funding.
"We're trying to figure out how to transition those people back into their communities," Stephens said.
President Obama was to visit Louisiana on Monday, a day ahead of the Democratic National Convention opening in Charlotte. He will meet with local officials, tour storm damaged areas and view response and recovery efforts before addressing reporters at Saint John the Baptist Parish, the White House said.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney visited the state Friday. Obama's Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, visited Bay St. Louis, Miss., and Slidell, La., on Sunday.
Louisiana's Public Service Commission reported Monday that 131,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity - about 6% of the customers statewide. Thousands also were still without power Monday in Mississippi and Arkansas.
After the Category 1 storm came ashore Tuesday night, more than 900,000 Louisiana customers lost their power, nearly half of the homes and businesses around the state.
Unlike past storms that wreaked damage and sped away swiftly, Isaac's slow march through the area meant emergency crews were doing search-and-rescue missions for days after the storm had moved on, Stephens said. Rivers overflowing with rainwater and dams threatening to fail led to more evacuations, slowing the recovery phase, she said.
"For days after this storm, we were dealing with emerging threats," Stephens said. "That's not typical for a Category 1 hurricane."
In New Orleans, which dodged much of Isaac's wrath due to a newly improved, $14.45 million hurricane protection system, the main issue remained lack of power. As of Monday, less than 30,000 customers were without electricity, down from more than 100,000 during the storm, city spokesman Tyler Gamble said.
Work crews continued clearing trees from roads, and residents piled downed tree limbs and mounds of soggy drywall on street curbs for trash pickup. Isaac's winds felled more than 1,000 trees across the city, he said.
City emergency officials didn't deal with many rescue efforts, allowing them to focus almost immediately on the recovery phase, Gamble said. "We'll be in recovery mode this week and definitely into next," he said.
Contributing: Associated Press