Broadwater Celebrates Final Fourth Of July

The Broadwater certainly made a big splash on the Naquins.

"Yes, we've been coming here a good 30, 32, 33 years," Robert Naquin remembered.

But because of an ownership change, this was the last holiday the legendary grande dame of Biloxi resorts rolled out its rather famous red carpet.

"I told my wife I kind of feel sad about it because we've stayed in just about every room they got here," Naquin said.

Since its inception in 1939, the Broadwater has always had elegant rooms surrounded by nature. Gwen Mashburn said that picture was a lot more memorable than the current condition of the resort.

"It's pretty dumpy right now," the New Orleans woman said after having her picture taken on the deck of the Broadwater's pool. "But it was a wonderful place to stay."

By the end of the month, the Broadwater will close forever.

"It is true the operations will be shut down," said new Broadwater owner Roy Anderson, III.

His ownership team is getting ready to drain the Broadwater's pools, and lock up its hotel rooms. Anderson's plan is to demolish the old resort. When it resurfaces , a new concept will come to life.

"Our vision is a retail, lifestyle mall," Anderson said. "Brick streets, gas lantern, outdoor pavilion, restaurants, a lot of excitement at night, shopping during the day, as well as condos."

Those changes will be on the north side of Highway 90, on the 38 acre hotel property where the Naquins spent so many summers.

"This is it, this is the end, the end of a good era," Naquin said. "But like I say, you've got to compete with everybody else. So there's nothing else you can do."

Nothing but say one final goodbye to the Broadwater -- an old friend several guests saw every summer -- a friend who always made them feel right at home.

The Broadwater has all sorts of history attached to it. Celebrities and a sitting United States president all stayed at the resort. In the 1950s, the hotel operated a second floor casino, and it served alcohol -- even though both were illegal.

In 1966, the Broadwater served the first legal alcoholic drink in Mississippi. And in 1992, it became the first hotel to have a dockside casino attached to it.