Donald Trump has visited a city badly hit by Hurricane Laura, surveying widespread damage and receiving briefings on relief efforts.
His trip to Lake Charles came just two days after the category four storm ravaged the Gulf Coast, particularly Louisiana and Texas.
At least 16 people were killed, more than half due to carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators.
Ahead of the storm making landfall more than half a million people were ordered to leave their homes near the Texas-Louisiana state line.
A storm surge as high as 15 feet (4.5m) drowned buildings and pushed over trees in states as far north as Arkansas, forcing hundreds of thousands of coastal residents to evacuate despite ongoing coronavirus lockdown measures.
Tall buildings in Lake Charles had their windows smashed by Hurricane Laura’s 150mph (240kmph) winds, which left glass and debris scattered across the city.
A 68-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl were among at least four people killed by trees falling on top of their homes, officials said.
Hundreds of thousand of people in the state currently have no access to power or water, which could continue for months as the hot summer stretches on in the southern states.
“I’m here to support the great people of Louisiana,” Trump said in a press conference in Lake Charles, adding: “It was a tremendously powerful storm.”
He said he knew one thing about the state of Louisiana: “They rebuild it fast.”
The president spent just over two hours in the city, during which time he met local and state officials as well as relief workers, but not with any residents whose homes and businesses had been ripped apart by the storm.
The president is due to visit the city of Orange in Texas next, located on the border with Louisiana.