Hurricane Laura leaves hundreds of thousands without power or water
However, officials say returning residents will face weeks without power or water amid the hot, stifling days of late summer.
HuffPost reports the death toll from the Category 4 hurricane rose to 16 deaths Saturday.
More than half of those were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators.
The latest deaths included an 80-year-old woman and an 84-year-old man who died from just such a poisoning.
The State of Louisiana estimates more than 220,000 residents are without water. Toppled street signs and non-working stoplights have made driving hazardous.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter cautioned that there was no timetable for restoring electricity and that water-treatment plants 'took a beating.'
If you come back to Lake Charles to stay, make sure you understand the above reality and are prepared to live in it for many days, probably weeks. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter