Unleashed by its U.S. Army minders, the Mississippi River poured across Louisiana lowlands Monday on its way to inundate thousands of homes and businesses as the Corps of Engineers fights to spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
"Hope you appreciate this Baton Rouge. You're welcome," read one sign posted outside a home in the path of the floodwater.
St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier said about three-quarters of his constituents' homes are expected to suffer water damage after the weekend opening of the Morganza Spillway by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The controlled release of water from the swollen Mississippi has lowered projected flood levels for cities downstream -- but the lowered crests are little consolation to those living along the Atchafalaya River basin, where the water is being diverted.
"It just tears my heart up to know that these people's lives are fixing to change," Cormier said.
And Krotz Springs, about 20 miles down the Atchafalaya, Mayor Carroll Snyder told CNN that workers are scrambling to put together a temporary levee to protect about 240 homes on the south side of town.
Gallery: Floodwaters on the rise