Tens of thousands are returning to their homes not knowing if Hurricane Laura has spared them.
As evacuees struggled back to the coast over fallen trees and power lines, many arrived to finding nothing left.
The hurricane that struck Louisiana and parts of Texas on Wednesday was one of the most powerful in U.S. history.
At least six were killed in Louisiana, including a girl of 14.
Winds of up to 150mph tore apart homes and businesses and knocked out power to nearly a million customers.
Elsewhere, Arkansas was placed in a state of emergency after it was lashed by damaging winds and flooding.
James Boudreaux, 59, was one of those who feared him home in the Louisiana seaside town of Cameron was gone.
Unable to reach his property after the area was left marooned, he said he “knew his house would no longer be standing”.
He added: “Mother Nature has left me homeless three times over the last 15 years and she will have done so again.
“I know hundreds of my neighbours will be left with nothing. My home will have gone for sure.”
Officials yesterday prevented people travelling to some of the worse-hit areas such a Cameron and nearby Holly Beach but others were allowed back into more mainland areas.
However, with power still out in large parts of the affected area, thousands remained in shelters.
The 14-year-old who died was hit by a tree crashed down on her home in Leesville, Louisiana, about a 100 miles from the coast.
Cynthia Miller, and her two sisters rode out the storm in their parents’ bedroom. Their town was not under evacuation and family thought it safe.
Cynthia’s sister Nellie said: “It was scary, dark. It was terrifying. We went to ride out the storm in our parents’ room.
“Everyone was sitting in there and the tree. . . it came down. I tried to find Cindy ’cos she wasn’t talking.
“I tried to wake her up and she wouldn’t.
“She was really smart and wanted to go to Harvard and be a microbiologist.”
Three men, aged 50 to 68, were also killed when trees fell on their homes.
A man of 24 died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator inside his home. Another man drowned after his boat sank in the storm.
Laura flattened buildings across Louisiana and knocked dozens of train carriage off the track. Just before it touched down, weather experts had called its storm surge “unsurvivable”.
In Lake Charles, Barbara Thomas was cleaning up her home. She said: “You could hear the shingles coming off but it’s not as bad as I thought it might be.”
Donald Trump is visiting the Gulf Coast this weekend to tour the damage.