President Bush has declared a state of emergency for the Gulf Coast state of Louisiana, as it braces for the expected onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, set to make landfall on Monday.

Saturday's emergency declaration authorizes federal officials to coordinate all disaster relief efforts and provide appropriate assistance in several Louisiana parishes.

Hours earlier, Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi declared their own states of emergency in preparation for the storm, and evacuations of low-lying areas began.

Oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated as well, as the 11th named storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season churned over the Gulf's warm waters.

At last report, Katrina had 185 kilometer-per-hour winds as it moved slowly toward the west-northwest.

Hurricane Katrina slammed into southeast Florida Thursday, leaving at least seven people dead.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.