NEW ORLEANS -- Even before Hurricane Isaac made landfall, the storm unleashed a hint of its fury on the New Orleans lakefront, sending waves crashing over the breakwater and flooding Lakeshore Drive.
Soon Isaac swamped Grand Isle with a storm surge that flooded the island.
And within hours Isaac's storm surge forced terrified residents like Sharon Sylvia to scramble from their homes in Plaquemines Parish.
“Water's over the top of the roof,” she said. “We had to break through the ceiling and come through the attic.”
Rescuers in Braithwaite navigated among rooftops to rescue flood victims, sometimes chopping people and their pets out of the attics where they had sought escape from the floodwaters.
“Seemed like five minutes the damn thing was 6 feet deep,” said Fred Leslie.
It would be more than a day later before authorities discovered one couple never made it out, drowning in their kitchen in Plaquemines.
As high winds uprooted trees, ripped away branches and knocked out power, the storm surge pushed water into Lafitte, Barataria and Crown Point, flooding homes and businesses.
“Everything you see in my house is totaled, except for few pieces of clothes I'm going to try and wash,” said Charles Dufrene.
Isaac sent storm surge in from lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain into at least nine LaPlace subdivisions, flooding thousands of homes and businesses.
The Coast Guard joined St. John deputies and others in the rescue effort.
Thirty-six hundred people were forced from their homes, hundreds of them bused to shelters in Alexandria.
And the wind ripped apart a church.
"My building is gone but my faith is still in God,” said Ronald Frank, bishop of Milesville Memorial Church. “My faith wasn't in this building."
In Slidell, hundreds more flood victims evacuated their homes when storm surge from Bayou Bonfouca transformed roads into rivers.
And Isaac's rains caused more flooding. The Bogue Chitto River overflowed its banks in Washington parish into homes in Franklinton.
And when heavy rains led to a fear that a dam could burst on Lake Tangipahoa in Percy Quinn State Park, officials called for thousands of residents in Kentwood to evacuate.
Hurricane Isaac, the storm some downplayed as just a category one hurricane, leaving a trail of disaster across much of southeast Louisiana.