Officials instead advised people to keep at least three days of supplies on hand and to keep their neighborhood storm drains clear so water can move quickly.
"I worry an very bad lot about the rain as it falls, not as it relates to the Mississippi River but all the other rivers that we have across south Louisiana", Edwards said.
Barry is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane by Friday night before making landfall somewhere around southern Louisiana either Friday night or early Saturday, according to the Hurricane Center.
Another risk looms in the Mississippi River. New Orleans and parts of southwestern MS were expected to get the worst of it.
"There is no system in the world that can handle that amount of rainfall in such a short period", Cantrell said on Twitter. "So right now, New Orleans is looking at a significant rise in water". The Mississippi River - which flows into NoLa and sits nearly directly in the path of the storm - has recently seen the most flooding in its recorded history. New Orleans residents were bracing for a rise in water of up to 5 feet.
However, the city did not plan to order evacuations because Barry was so close and because it was not expected to grow into a major hurricane.
"If it's worse than the other day, it'd be the worst week since Katrina", said musician Robert Harris, 61, polishing his trombone while sitting in a folding chair on a sidewalk.
In New Orleans, where 50 levees failed in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, Mayor LaToya Cantrel is warning residents that water is going to be their biggest threat.
All levee floodgates were being closed, along with a giant surge barrier erected after Katrina.
About 10,000 people in Plaquemines Parish on Louisiana's low-lying southeastern tip were ordered evacuated on Thursday.
Tracking forecasts showed the brunt of the storm blowing into the Louisiana delta west of New Orleans on a path that could continue toward Chicago, swelling the Mississippi River basin with water that must eventually flow south again.
Gulliver-Garcia worries about people with limited options and without the means to evacuate, she said, adding that she knows people across the country who would take her in at a moment's notice. Throughout the city, motorists left cars parked on the raised median strips of roadways hoping the extra elevation would protect them from flood damage.
Larry Gumpert, the 74-year-old owner of a pest-control company, said he planned to hunker down at home, cooking and catching up on household chores. "We're going to have all three". "The Army Corps has spent time, money and energy trying to fortify the city".
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