Louisiana has declared a state of emergency and ordered some Gulf Coast communities to evacuate, as Tropical Storm Barry churns offshore in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of its expected landfall Saturday as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm has flooded parts of Louisiana and threatens to cause an already-engorged Mississippi River to overtop levees. The river, which is usually at six to eight feet in midsummer, is now at 16 feet due to record flooding this year. New Orleans is only protected to a river level of 20 feet. The National Weather Service expects the Mississippi to approach that level today, marking one of the highest river levels seen in the city in decades. Meanwhile, activists are demanding the immediate evacuation of the more than 65,000 prisoners in the path of the storm throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.