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Heavy equipment, dredge rebuild Louisiana barrier island

West Grand Terre Island once was a headquarters for Jean Lafitte's pirate band.
Credit: AP
A pelican flies past an excavator that is moving rocks to armor he edges of a Louisiana barrier island on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Contractors are at work on a $102 million Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority project to add about 400 acres of beach, dune and marshland to Grand Terre Island. Weather permitting, they hope to finish in November. (AP Photo/Janet McConnaughey)

JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — Excavators, bulldozers and a dredge miles away from them are working on a $100 million project to enlarge a Louisiana barrier island. 

West Grand Terre Island once was a headquarters for Jean Lafitte's pirate band. It now is getting 2.5 million cubic yards of sand — nearly enough to fill the Empire State Building twice. 

The plan also includes armoring a mile of shoreline with rocks weighing 2.5 tons to 6 tons apiece. 

A half-dozen excavators were at work Wednesday. Four were moving rocks. Others were creating low lines of sand and dirt to guide the placement of sand that will eventually create beach, dunes, and marshes.

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