Friday, February 07, 2014

Photos: White House Builds Outdoor Pavilion On South Lawn For Pres. Hollande's State Dinner

The pavilion on the South Lawn, at right
Washington, DC - Construction workers at the White House were very busy on Thursday afternoon building a large, roofed pavilion that will be used when President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama roll out the red carpet for their State Dinner honoring President François Hollande of France next Tuesday, Feb. 11.

The wall of the pavilion facing the South Lawn has windows

Located at the bottom of the South Lawn, the structure is made with wood and steel beams, white paneling, and wood flooring.  It includes a long wall of windows that look onto the South Lawn fountain.  

It is raised above the ground, and situated across the lawn from Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden.  The National Mall, including the dramatic Washington Monument, is visible beyond the White House fenceline.
A smaller structure and a mobile power generator are on one side
Like other presidential couples, the President and Mrs. Obama have used pavilions for previous State Dinners; the White House has called these "tents."  The past pavilions have included bullet-proof windows, electricity, special colored lighting, heating, carpeting, a full sound system, and lush floral decorations.  

The current pavilion is in the same location as the one the White House built when the President and Mrs. Obama hosted their last State Dinner in March of 2012, honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Cameron's formal dinner service took place in the pavilion, but at other State Dinners the President and Mrs. Obama have served dinner in the White House, then used the pavilion for a post-dinner reception and musical performances. 

The structure is raised off the lawn, and being wired for electric power
Full plans for the dinner honoring Hollande have not yet been revealed by aides; a press preview will take place on Monday, Feb. 10, where journalists will be allowed to view samples of place settings.  Though Hollande's State Visit and State Dinner are officially on Tuesday, President Obama will kick things off on Monday, when he escorts the French President on a tour of Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson's historic estate home in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Hollande's State Dinner will be the seventh the President and Mrs. Obama have hosted, the first of the President's second term, and the first since the dinner for Cameron.

The President and Mrs. Obama in the "tent" for the India State Dinner
The President and Mrs. Obama's first State Dinner in November of 2009, for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, took place in a very large South Lawn pavilion.  "The President and First Lady wait for Indian Prime Minister Singh’s motorcade to depart the White House at the conclusion of the first official state dinner for the Obama administration. The dinner was held in a tent on the South Lawn," reads the White House caption for the photo above.

American and French flags were hung on Friday outside the White House
On Friday, the White House installed US and French flags on lightposts all around the perimeter of the 18-acre campus, as is tradition for every State Visit.

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama; photo of the President and Mrs. Obama by Pete Souza/White House