French Avenue

Named for Theresa Henriot’s French school, which opened here in 1876 on land she owned with her husband François. It was the second and final location of L.A.’s first French language institution (it opened two years earlier at San Pedro near 1st) and was in fact a girls’ boarding school. French Avenue was named in 1886 – and part of nearby Figueroa Street was briefly known as Henriot Street. According to Gilded Age businessman/historian Harris Newmark, Theresa Bry (1822-1891) was raised in Geneva, came to Los Angeles in 1854, and married French gardener François Henriot in 1858. (Newmark also noted that her portrait, shown here, was a fixture at the “County Museum”, now NHMLA.) Census records indicate that she was born in Italy, but little else is known about her. The school closed sometime after 1894. Nearby Theresa Street, little more than an alley, also honors Madame Henriot.