Thousands of people are living in shelters after rising waters forced them to flee their homes in southern Louisiana.

Gov. John Bel Edwards says more than 10,000 people are in shelters and more than 20,000 people have been rescued from their homes.

One of those shelters is the Baton Rouge River Center, a major events location in the capital city's downtown. It was opened Sunday night to handle the large numbers of evacuees.

The federal government has declared a major disaster in four parishes following widespread flooding across southeastern Louisiana.

Edwards said President Barack Obama called him and said the people of southern Louisiana are in his thoughts and prayers and that the federal government will be a solid partner.