Sparta was a city-state in Southern Greece renowned for the discipline of its people. In 1981, after successfully staging tableau balls for nearly three decades, the Knights exploded upon the parading scene with a traditional-style parade that blended innovations employed by newer krewes. The all-male parade is led by the captain aboard a white stallion. He is followed by his shadow, a young boy, who also rides a white steed. Until 2001, Sparta annually christened the St. Charles Avenue parade route. Sparta is the first parade of the season to present flambeau carriers and a mule-drawn king’s float.