He boarded Air Force One in New Orleans during the afternoon, and was running behind schedule.
While President Obama traveled to Louisiana to look at the damage from the oil spill, the first family remained in Chicago Friday.
The Obamas are spending the Memorial Day weekend at their South Side home. It is their first visit to Chicago in more than one year.
Mr. Obama left his Chicago home at 7:30 a.m. Friday with his commute consisting of a motorcade to Soldier Field where he boarded Marine One for a quick hop to O'Hare and on Air Force One for a day trip to survey oil damage on the Gulf Coast.
Two hours and 40 minutes after he left, the president was on the ground in Louisiana.
Meanwhile, back on Chicago's South Side, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha were keeping largely out of sight, but that's did not dampen enthusiasm for their return.
"We love it. They're our neighbors, and it's wonderful to have such important people come back home," said Beth Flynn, Kenwood resident.
Friday was 'Show and Tell Day' for those attending pre-school at the synagogue across from the Obamas' home. One student, little Ann, brought a seashell that looks like a bunny's foot, but everyone knew the real show was the Obama family.
" We went out last night to watch them come home and welcome them. It's just her life. How cool is that to grow up with that?" Flynn said.
"For years, we can tell stories of going to pre-school across the street from the Obamas' house," Kenwood resident Laura Tharsen said.
Delivery trucks, parents and kids in the area were all getting thorough screenings by the Secret Service, but the presidential vacation wasn't causing his community too much of a headache.
President Obama was due back from Louisiana mid-afternoon Friday. He has no public schedule until Monday when he goes to Elwood to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for a Memorial Day observance.
Between now and then, ABC7 is told he will have several get-togethers, and perhaps, head out for dinner. There is also talk he could take in a Blackhawks game.