The shelter there, Mr. Edwards said, could typically accommodate thousands of people, but its capacity was reduced to 833 because of virus restrictions. After reaching capacity, evacuees were moved farther north to the cities of Bastrop and Shreveport.
Still, many others chose to ride out Delta with a shrug -- a response that might be interpreted as coolheadedness or insouciance.
In Rayne, a small city on the Cajun prairie west of Lafayette, windows were boarded up and generators were full of fuel. A woman jogged along a two-lane highway through the heavy rainfall that had already begun. And the register was getting a workout at Queen City Discount Liquor and Tobacco.
Marcus Carmouche, 30, set out on Friday morning with the hope of finding a generator. He had no luck. Instead, he came to the store with his cousin, who gathered up armfuls of bags of chips.
Mr. Carmouche said he would take it as it came. "It isn't going to do nothing but tear out a few trees and knock power lines down," he said, noting that the last storm, Hurricane Laura, had left his family without power for about a day.
His plan, he said, was to stay home and play video games until the lights went out. "We're just going to chill," he said.
Rick Rojas reported from Lafayette, and Richard Fausset from Atlanta. Mike Ives contributed reporting from Hong Kong, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio from New York, Will Wright from Jersey City, N.J., Chelsea Brasted from New Orleans and Christiaan Mader from Lafayette.