In 1857, the Mistick Krewe of Comus became the first official Mardi Gras organization in New Orleans, setting the stage for generations of krewes to come and, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, even preventing Mardi Gras from becoming a mere violent street party. Though the original krewe no longer parades, the Comus organization is still active, producing a royal court each year.
The introduction of the Mistick Krewe of Comus helped to transform Mardi Gras into the carnival-like celebration it is today. This organization may also have originated the use of the word 'krewe' to describing an organization that organizes parades, balls and other Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. At the time of Comus' inception, New Orleans' Mardi Gras was a mostly informal gathering, and the members of the brand-new Comus organization received inspiration and support from members of a Mardi Gras parade organization in Mobile, Alabama, which is where American Mardi Gras celebrations originated.