DVDs of BILOXI MEMORIES AND THE BROADWATER BEACH HOTEL are available by becoming a Member of WYES. 

Bathing beauty contests, schooners, early hotels, fantasy islands, pristine beaches, and a landmark lighthouse drew people to the Gulf coast. For many visitors, Biloxi and the Broadwater Beach Hotel are forever linked in their collective memories.

pierFormer hotel manager Jack Stanford describes owner Mrs. Joe W. Brown (Dorothy Dorsett Brown) as a woman who “. . . knew what she wanted and how to get it.” Mrs. Brown’s renovations included the spa-like Lanai pool, and the luxurious Lanai rooms. During her tenure, Leon Kelner and his band played at the Broadwater’s Royal Terrace to rave reviews. Families held reunions and returned to the Broadwater year after year. New Orleans bride Leslie Landry enjoyed her first honeymoon at the hotel so much that she rebooked it for her honeymoon with husband number two. Long-time guest Dottie Ziegler’s favorite Broadwater event was the annual talent show to raise money for the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon. Broadwater guests could also arrive by boat and dock their yachts at the Broadwater Marina which had its own lighthouse and restaurant.

The Biloxi lighthouse in 1901 at the water's edge.

The Biloxi lighthouse in 1901 at the water’s edge.

In BILOXI MEMORIES AND THE BROADWATER BEACH HOTEL, visitors and residents share special moments. “Back in the seventies we’d go to the Fiesta Lounge in Biloxi,” recalls New Orleanian Jerry Montalbano. He also remembers big bands and good times. Elaine Stevens recalls the line-up of stellar performers who appeared at her father’s Gus Stevens Restaurant and Nightclub, including the glamorous Jayne Mansfield and the events that led to her fatal accident. Bob Mahoney is proud to point out that his mother’s restaurant Mary Mahoney’s Old French House is featured in John Grisham’s novel Runaway Jury.

Biloxi began as a small fishing village, and the warm waters of the Mississippi Sound still provide an abundance of seafood, as well as serve as a playground for swimming, sailing, and strolls along the beach. The documentary visits the George Ohr Museum which exhibits the creative works of the self-proclaimed “Mad Potter of Biloxi,” and explores the role of Keesler Air Force Base in the development of this coastal city.

Despite hurricanes that have tested the resolve and resilience of its citizens, Biloxi continues to reinvent itself. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, shrimp and oyster factories lined the coastline. Today, casinos are the big draw.

In his song “Down in Biloxi,” composer and lyricist Ray Fournier captures the flavor of the city: “Every night and every day, they’re having a party down on the Gulf Coast, down in Biloxi.”

Barbara Sillery is the producer, director and writer. Peggy Scott Laborde is the executive producer and narrator. Paul Combel is photographer. Editor is Larry Roussarie. Dawn Smith is the associate producer.

Jane  Mansfield with restauranteur Gus Stevens

Jane Mansfield with restauranteur Gus Stevens


Bellhop at The Broadwater Hotel

Bellhop at The Broadwater Hotel

Courtyard at Mary Mahoney’s

Courtyard at Mary Mahoney’s

Broadwater Hotel pool, circa 1970

Broadwater Hotel pool, circa 1970

Clark Oyster House

Clark Oyster House

Check out the program's on-air promo

Click here to watch! 


Dorothy Ziegler
Guest, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Marilyn Reynolds
Guest, Broadwater Beach Hotel

David “Paul” Spencer
President, Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation

Maureen Hogan
Guest, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Leslie Landry
Honeymooner, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Jerry Montalbano
Guest, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Val Husley
Curator Emeritus, Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum

Jane B. Shambra
History and Genealogy Librarian, Harrison County Library System

Denny Mecham
Former Director, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art

Bill Raymond
Historical Administrator, City of Biloxi

Robert Barq
Barq Family

John Lewis
Barq Family

Delmar P. Robinson
Biloxi Housing Authority, Chairman of the Board

Victor Mavar
Managing Partner, Mavar Properties

Leonie Johnston
Daughter, Eddie Johnston

Dawn Smith
Keesler Air Force Baby

Bradley D. Spacy
Commander of the 81st Training Wing, Keesler Air Force Base

Bertram Hayes-Davis
Great-Great Grandson of Jefferson Davis

Bob Mahoney
Proprietor, Mary Mahoney’s Old French House

Elaine Stevens
Daughter of Gus Stevens

John Stachura
Biloxi Resident

Mike Koskie

Shawn Guider
Cocktail Server, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Jack Stanford
General Manager, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Susan D. Hunt
Community Activist, Biloxi

Susan Gowland
Guest, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Diane Bounds
Singer, Leon Kelner Orchestra

Gregory Cannizzaro
Guest, Broadwater Beach Hotel

Dr. Hales
Rex Archivist

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