In 2013 a nonprofit called Joy of Life on the Gulf Coast was formed to primarily benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Their board includes former patients of St. Jude and parents of St. Jude patients.

The group’s big annual fundraiser is the Wind Creek Hospitality Joy of Life Mardi Gras Ball, which includes “the culinary skills of Mobile's most amazing chefs and restaurants,” according to the Joy of Life web site, and “a live and silent auction, as well as great musical entertainment, all while raising funds for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.”

Almost from the start, the group wanted to include a Mardi Gras parade as part of its fundraising efforts, and last year, they staged their first one.

The first Joy of Life parade was held February 5, 2018, with the Order of Venus parade. The floats of the two parades were interspersed, so we showed them as they were presented - as one big parade. The Order of Many Faces parade followed Order of Venus/Joy of Life.

Each Joy of Life float is sponsored by a donor for $5,000. One float holds about 20 riders, and the sponsors are expected to host a St. Jude patient and their parents. Riders are masked.

This year, as the Joy of Life works to tweak its parade, the parade will roll on a different day - not night - on March 2, after the Knights of Mobile. Expect at least nine floats.

To see the Mask's exclusive HD video of the very first Joy of Life parade, with the Order of Venus, click HERE.

To see the Mask's exclusive gallery of photos from that parade, click on the image below:

 Joy of Life