But the flooding is drawing Obama in, although the visit will come later than some would have liked. Some Louisianans and others, including The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, called on Obama to break from vacation to console flood victims.
While Obama resisted the public pressure, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump filled the void. He visited the flood-ravaged area Friday with his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and briefly helped unload a supply truck.
With Congress still on a seven-week break, Obama and aides will likely spend time this week trying to figure out what they want from lawmakers before they shift focus on campaigning for re-election.
Congress returns after Labor Day, and the House and Senate will have just a month to pass a catch-all spending bill by the end of the federal budget year on Sept. 30 to keep the government operating. Lawmakers plan to leave Washington in October and return after the Nov. 8 elections.
The White House will continue to press for money to help keep the mosquito-borne Zika virus from spreading and develop a vaccine. The issue took on a new sense of urgency after Florida last week identified the popular Miami tourist haven of South Beach as the second site of Zika transmission on the U.S. mainland. A section of Miami's Wynwood arts district was the first.
In turn, incensed lawmakers have promised to keep the heat on the administration by holding hearings on the $400 million it delivered to Iran in January. Republicans say the money was ransom to win freedom for four Americans held in Iran. Obama denied that, saying earlier this month that "we do not pay ransom. We didn't here. And we ... won't in the future."
But administration officials also said it made little sense not to "retain maximum leverage," as State Department spokesman John Kirby put it last week, for the money long owed to Iran, to ensure the U.S. citizens' release.
Iran had paid $400 million in the 1970s for U.S. military equipment. Delivery was scrapped after the Iranian government was overthrown.
The explanations have not satisfied critics in and out of Congress. Trump has begun telling supporters at his campaign rallies that Obama "openly and blatantly" lied about the prisoners. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Obama has set a "dangerous precedent" and owes the public a "full accounting of his actions."
After visiting Louisiana, the president heads to Nevada on Aug. 31 to discuss environmental protection at the Lake Tahoe Summit. He follows with a trip to China and Laos from Sept. 2-9.
He's also expected to campaign aggressively in October to help elect Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.