BAYOU BARATARIA, La. - Hundreds of millions of BP dollars are now committed to help restore the Louisiana coast.
On Tuesday, Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled to lower Jefferson Parish to announce the first projects funded by part of the settlement after the 2010 oil spill.
Jean Lafitte is one of those bayou towns outside the levee protection that always seems to feel the effects of hurricanes and tropical storms as they batter the Louisiana coastline.
Many residents suffered from the fallout of the BP spill, which shut down much of the local fisheries for many months.
Word that help is on the way was well received, and long-awaited, in Lafitte.
"I’m proud to announce BP has agreed to fund approximately $340 million for projects for Louisiana," Jindal said.
The money will pay for some of the first restoration projects in Louisiana since the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
April 2013 marks three years since the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded, killing 11 crewmen and spewing hundreds of millions of gallons of BP oil into the gulf.
In April 2011, BP agreed to make a billion dollar down payment for early restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast.
On Tuesday the money was finally available.
"They spent a lot of money on TV ads, saying they want to make this right. If they really want to make this right, they need to get out of court and truly make this right," Jindal said.
The projects include the rebuilding of four barrier islands from Plaquemines to Terrebonne parishes.
They include Caillou Lake Headlands – Chenier Ronquille, North Breton – and Shell Island.
"The thing that’s the very first line of defense is our barrier islands, and today marks a good first step toward the restoration of our barrier islands," said Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claude.
BP will also pay for two research centers to restore and restock damaged fisheries – one on Lake Charles and the other in Plaquemines.
Local sport fishermen said some species have been slow to rebound since the gulf oil spill.
"There’s been a lot of research done on some offshore species that have shown some pretty disheartening news about the effects on the reproductive systems of those offshore species," said David Cresson of the Coastal Conservation Association.
The governor said some of the projects announced Tuesday could be finished in as little as nine months.
Others that require public comment periods and permitting could take up to two years to complete.