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Mardi Gras celebrations held across USA Health locations

Mardi Gras celebrations held across USA Health locations

Hospital team members and patients enjoyed treats, parades and throws as they let the good times roll for Mardi Gras.

Published Feb 20th, 2024

As the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the United States, Mobile celebrates Carnival season for several weeks before spring blooms. This year, multiple events were held at USA Health hospitals to bring merriment and fun to patients and team members.

At University Hospital, employees let the good times roll by carrying decorated umbrellas in a second-line procession. They handed out beads and treats to patients and colleagues during a Mardi Gras foot parade around the hospital.

Across town in west Mobile, Chaplain Kim Crawford Meeks accompanied other associates in a colorful procession aimed at spreading cheer to patients and visitors at Providence Hospital. Participating in the celebration was the Skeleton Crew of Merry Mates.

At Children’s & Women’s Hospital, the Masked Order of Mystic Miracles rolled through the halls on Feb. 7, tossing beads, cups and other treats to crowds gathered for the annual celebration. 

The Mobile Carnival Association’s juvenile king and queen led the parade, along with talented facilities staff member Kent McCants. Other special guests included USA President Jo Bonner, Andi M. Kent, Ph.D., executive vice president and provost at USA, a pet therapy pooch, plus dozens of USA Health employees clad in colorful costumes.

It was Mardi Gras in reverse for many of the young patients who were pushed in wheelchairs while others rolled down the route in wagons emblazoned with purple and gold decorations.

As the parade lined up, Zachary Smith sat next to his son in front of a row of windows near the surgery waiting room. The little boy had been in the hospital for several weeks. “It’s been better than I could have ever expected it to be,” Smith said as upbeat music filled the background. “We were finally able to get outside today and get some sun.”

For decades, members of the Mapp Child and Family Life Department have organized the annual event at Children’s & Women’s Hospital to help bring joy to hospitalized patients and their families. Research shows that helping to normalize the hospital experience through celebrations and other events can decrease the anxiety and stress of being hospitalized.

View parade photos.

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