The trip had been planned for four people, but only two showed up, Ray Walls said. "The rest of them got a little scared of the storm."
In Biloxi, Miss., families played on the beach, joggers trotted along the waterfront and a steady stream of cars passed on the main beach front road.
Tracey Bardong walked along a sunny beach with scattered dark clouds hanging over the water in the distance. She said she had made storm preparations, but noted that nobody had canceled reservations at any of her four rental properties.
"Nobody's concerned," she said.
Thu Bui and her two young sons were in Pensacola Beach, Fla., on vacation from. The family spent Saturday morning fishing from the beach pier.
Bui said the kids were disappointed that they were not allowed to go in the water because of the rough surf. "But they have been swimming in the hotel pool and they like that," she said.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River, which forms part of the border between Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm watch covers the New Orleans area and a stretch from east of the Pearl River's mouth to Indian Pass, Fla.
Forecasters expected the storm's center to be in the warning area Saturday night or Sunday morning, and they note that an increase in speed is possible Sunday. Rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the central Gulf Coast and southeastern U.S. are possible through Monday night, with isolated totals up to 6 inches.
Karen began losing some of its punch late Friday, after a busy day of preparations along the Gulf Coast for the storm. Karen is a late-arriving worry in what had been a slow hurricane season in the U.S. Karen would be the second named storm to make landfall in the U.S. — the first since Tropical Storm Andrea hit Florida in June.