By STACEY PLAISANCE / Associated Press
CROWN POINT, La. (AP) -- Water covered streets in communities along Barataria Bay, where Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was to visit later on Friday.
The flooding, driven by Hurricane Isaac, was receding somewhat after isolating the area as the storm made landfall on Wednesday.
Romney was to visit the Jean Lafitte-Crown Point area along with Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
President Barack Obama was expected to visit Louisiana on Monday.
In Crown Point, police were telling people not to drive because wakes caused by their vehicles were pushing water toward homes.
In Crown Point, police were telling people not to drive along streets because wakes caused by their vehicles were pushing water toward homes.
Crown Point, Jean Lafitte and other settlements that line the bay, which juts inland from the Gulf of Mexico, are accustomed to high water driven by hurricanes. But Isaac, a relatively weak storm by the standards of Betsy and Katrina, pushed in much more water than expected after it stalled after landfall.
The question of whether more levee protection is needed is a thorny one in this laid-back fishing community, where the water is a lifeblood of business and a way of life. Many local residents like the free access to the bay and Gulf, and say levee and flood structures would change the balance of nature and the reason they live there.
Mike Townsend, 47, said he was happy the area was not included in levee plans despite the high water. A system of levees, floodgates and other structures would be devastating, he said.
"We like to come and go freely. You can go for fish and crabs that come up from the Gulf," he said. Levees and other structures could cut that off, he said.
Townsend said he'd rather see money go into restoring the eroding coast. "That's where the money will be well spent," he said.
Townsend is an air conditioning technician for the New Orleans school system. He's a Republican -- like many people in the GOP stronghold of Jefferson Parish where Romney could expect a friendly reception.
Townsend said he's curious what Romney will say about Isaac and approaches to protecting the area.
"I like his business sense," said Townsend.
In nearby Jean Lafitte, 45-year-old Richard Riley spent Friday morning walking about a mile from his flooded house to nearby Crown Point.
Riley rode out Isaac at the house, and though floodwater were receding, he decided it was time to leave.
At the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge, he was met by a Jefferson Parish sheriff's rescue team, who took him to a nearby location where family members were waiting.
Unlike Townsend, Riley -- who also is a Republican -- said he was in favor of building new flood protection for the Lafitte area, especially after Isaac brought in a surprising amount of water.
"It floods here a lot but this time there was a lot more water," he said.
"We need the levees. That's the only way we can protect our homes."
Riley was pleased that Obama was going to visit.
"He needs to see the devastation and allocate the money that's needed to build new levees or do whatever is needed to protect us," he said.
In advance of Romney's visit, Secret Service agents were checking out the area along the Lafitte-Larose Highway, the only roadway into the Lafitte area.
Lafitte is named for the buccaneer Jean Lafitte, whose ships stalked merchant prey in the Gulf of Mexico in the early years of the 1800s.
He's best remembered as a hero of the Battle of New Orleans, the American victory over a much larger British army fought weeks after the United States and Britain had reached a peace treaty to end the War of 1812.
Lafitte provided cannons, powder and men to fight at a plantation in Chalmette, just east of New Orleans, under the command of Andrew Jackson.
The U.S.-pirate force suffered few casualties, but thousands of British soldiers died.
Jackson went on to become president, but after the battle Lafitte returned to his pirating ways and disappeared into the fog of history a few years later.
Neither the British nor the Americans knew the war was over when the battle was fought in January 1815. Historians have argued since whether Britain would have been willing to give back New Orleans -- and control of the Mississippi River -- had their army been victorious even though the war was over.
Several movies have been made about the battle, including one in 1958 in which Charlton Hesston portrayed Jackson and Yule Brunner was cast as Lafitte.