French settlers were a significant community of the early pueblo of Los Angeles. Among the earliest settlers was a former member of the Napoleonic Guard, Louis Bauchet, who arrived in 1827. Bauchet bought a vineyard and prospered in viticulture, as did Jean Louis Vignes, who arrived in Los Angeles from Bordeaux in 1832. In 1831, Augustine Alexis Bachelot, a French Picpus father came to Los Angeles and served as the first resident priest atthe Plaza Church-La Igelesia de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles. In 1859, the French community, which numbered 600 of the city's 5, 000 resident-population was recognized for its contribution to the development of Southern California when France sent Jacob A. Moerenhout to Los Angeles to serve as the first French Counsel General of the city. Moerenhout was greeted by the city's first French-Canadian mayor, Damien Marchesault.

The Garnier family after whom the Garnier Building is named.Between the 1870s and 1890s much of the east and southeastern side of the Plaza was occupied by French-owned businesses, who shared space with the growing Chinese population. This area of the city became known by locals as "French-Town." Prominent business leaders of the community included Philippe Garnier (see photo), builder of the Garnier Block in 1890 and Lucien Napoleon Brunswig, a pharmacist and French immigrant who came to Los Angeles in 1887. Brunswig established the Brunswig Drug Company in today's Vickrey/Brunswig Building (1888) and soon had the largest manufacturing laboratories west of Chicago. He was among the original benefactors who helped Christine Sterling transform Olvera Street into a popular Mexican marketplace in 1930, a contribution that led to the preservation of the plaza area as a historic landmark in the 1950s.

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