As of 4 p.m. CT Friday, Delta was 35 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, about 50 miles from Lake Charles, a community devastated by Tropical Storm Laura in August.
Lake Charles is in the heart of a part of the state known as Cajun country, a historically French-influenced area.
Local residents told NBC News people there are weary of powerful hurricanes this season.
“Emotionally, I think everybody is just battered and worn down right now,” one Louisiana resident told NBC News.
Hurricane Laura ripped roofs off many homes and cut trailers in half. About 20 percent of homes in that area still have blue tarps as temporary roofs after that storm.
In a video posted to Facebook on Thursday, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter urged residents to heed evacuation warnings.
“With what we have been through with Laura, looking at Hurricane Delta really is a scary proposition for Lake Charles, so I cannot encourage people enough to evacuate the city,” Hunter said.
Strong waves and high winds from Delta had already begun along the coast Friday morning, and forecasters expect these to intensify throughout the day and into the evening.
By afternoon, the storm’s strongest winds — the wall around the core of the cyclone — is forecast to move ashore with wind gusts of up to 90 mph.