US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, have toured flood-damaged Louisiana, despite the Democratic state governor's urging not to make political stops in areas affected by recent deadly rains.
US President Barack Obama said he was also eager for a first-hand look at the damage done by floods that damaged some 40,000 homes and killed at least 13 people, announcing plans to visit Baton Rouge on Tuesday.
Trump criticised Obama's absence after his motorcade drove past piles of possessions and building materials ripped out of flooded homes en route to Greenwell Springs Baptist Church in a hard-hit portion of East Baton Rouge Parish.
The deluge that dumped more than 760cm on parts of Louisiana has been described as the worst US disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Trump told reporters he had come to help. The office of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, however, said Trump had not called to discuss plans.
"We welcome him to [Louisiana], but not for a photo op," the governor's office said in a statement, urging Trump to volunteer or make "a sizeable donation".
Yet Kellie Michelli, who lost her home in the flood, said, "I don't care if he gives a nickel, he showed he cared by coming here."
Trump told reporters he agreed with people in Louisiana who have urged Obama to cut short a vacation in New England to visit and view the flood devastation.
Obama's vacation is due to end on Sunday. Edwards has said that he would prefer the president wait a few weeks before visiting, as the huge presidential security undertaking involved would interfere with recovery efforts.
The White House said in a statement, "The president is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts."
Obama has declared much of the state a federal disaster, freeing up emergency resources.
Some 86,500 people have already filed for federal aid, while thousands have sought refuge in shelters.
Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic rival in the November 8 election, said she had spoken with the governor by phone on Friday.
"My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can't afford any distractions," she said on Facebook, directing people to support organisations providing assistance.