The Mardi Gras parade tradition began in 1856, when the “Mistick Krewe of Comus” — a group of Anglo-Americans from Alabama — rolled two floats through New Orleans’ streets at night. In subsequent years the krewe became renowned for its dream-like wood and papier-mâché floats inspired by classical themes. New Orleans parade design reached its pinnacle in the late 1800s through the work of two cosmopolitan Swedish artist-emigres — Charles Briton and Bror Anders Wikstrom. Their fantastical creations — with titles like ‘The Prince of Darkness is a Gentleman” (a quote from King Lear) and “Sunset Dance of the Mosquito” — were whimsical confections bedecked with follies, flowers and grottos glittering with giant jewels. Comus ended its parade in 1992, in protest of a city ordinance that banned discrimination in Mardi Gras groups.