Lavender Effect Launches Campaign to Memorialize the French Market

In conjunction with LGBTQ Pride Month, The Lavender Effect is launching a community project titled “Queer Spaces: Memories from the French Market Place.” This project is intended to celebrate and document the market for its role as a gathering space in regional LGBTQ culture and history.

The French Market Place complex of shops, offices and dining opened in West Hollywood in 1973. It soon became a venue and safe space for social gatherings and meetings by human rights activists from early community organizing in the 1970s to its closing in 2015.

The French Quarter's outdoor dining area
The old French Quarter restaurant’s outdoor dining area

The building, which sits at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Laurel Avenue, was closed last summer. It and the DBA property to its east have been acquired by Faring Capital. Faring plans to replace the French Market building and its parking lots with a four-story building with three levels of subterranean parking. That building will include 50,000 square feet of office space, 8,600 square feet of restaurant space, 4,400 square feet devoted to shops and a 3,200 square foot space for a bar or night club.

Before the building is razed for redevelopment, The Lavender Effect will collect stories, memories, photographs, and artifacts that will be digitized and curated to document the significant role the French Market Place played in shaping West Hollywood and the gay rights movement. Personal items and recollections, business promotions and ephemera from the French Quarter restaurant and the surrounding small businesses such as Dorothy’s Surrender and Baby Jane will be included in the collection. The Lavender Effect is a non-profit project of Community Partners whose mission is documenting the history of LGBTQ people and their movement for equality and acceptance. “This research is made possible with support from Faring Capital, local volunteers and donors to The Lavender Effect,” said Andy Sacher, founding executive director.

“The French Market Place holds a significant cultural memory that needs to be documented for future generations,” said Sacher. “Some important community interactions took place here, many of which led to the formation of organizations and grassroots activism.”

Everyone from the LGBTQ and allied communities who cherishes this unique venue is encouraged to visit QueerSpaces.org for more information and to upload photos, videos and other related materials. An open house will be held in the French Market Place, on a date to be announced, to celebrate its history, share stories and submit materials to be included in the project. Details are available online.

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genie Briscoe
genie Briscoe
3 years ago

I don’t care what you say I liked the wha it was have eaten there many times yes I think that one of them should be called the French market

matt boyd
3 years ago

Shame! Others completed correct thought in earlier comments!!

Don Azars
Don Azars
3 years ago

A further comment, the developer of the Office/Store building that is to replace the French Market SHOULD make a public statement that one of the restaurants that will (or could) open inside should be named FRENCH MARKET as well. There is no copywrite on the name nor any other legal reason why not. There IS an emotional reason and a way to calm those who remember and honor the FM..and it’s employees over the years.

Don Azars
Don Azars
3 years ago

The French Market formerly Arthur J’s certainly is not “sacred” but it was often thought of as the heart of the West Hollywood “village” and even the entire LGBT community. We all went there for social gatherings, organizational meetings or just breakfast, lunch and dinners…let alone sober up snacks. It represents several decades of lives, campaigns for equality and even the campaign to make West Hollywood an independent city. If not a “landmark” it is a “lifemark” for thousands of men and women. And it needs to be recognized as such especially as West Hollywood is being transformed from the… Read more »

Charles
Charles
3 years ago

Granted the inside of this building could use an overhaul and I mean overhaul. Once again more traffic, more congestion there already is on Santa Monica Boulevard once the new building and parking have been completed. What really is the purpose for getting more and dense in a city where we are as dense as we get. I know this because I live right up the street from this building. I don’t know what will become of this city. Doomed perhaps?

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
4 years ago

I’m not saying this place is sacred and shouldn’t be torn down, but what IS sacred to WEHO??? Seems the City Council has no problem bulldozing everything…..except, well, maybe The Abbey. I’m sure they’ve already given that place protected status.

Christopher
Christopher
4 years ago

It really is a shame for the city to destroy buildings with historical meaning. It’s part of West Hollywood’s charm; to be replaced by what? a parking structure?

Very Concerned Citizen
Very Concerned Citizen
4 years ago

SHAME on Faring Capital for NOT realizing the major significance of this building….Demolition is NOT the answer for our community…shame…. shame….shame!

Donald Azars
Donald Azars
4 years ago

Count on me – the place has not only fun memories but important ones … friends now gone, others still in the area, events, gay issues, others.

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