Marshall J. “Marty” Mule’, a mainstay of sports writing in Louisiana for almost a half century, died unexpectedly Saturday afternoon at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Covington.

He was 73.

The author of eight books, including two on LSU football, two histories of the Allstate Sugar Bowl and most recently, Game Changers, the definitive history of sports in Louisiana, Mule’ spent 31 years at the New Orleans Times-Picayune where he was a columnist, beat writer and enterprise writer who dealt with virtually every subject area.

He was the 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in sports journalism from the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and a three-time National Sports Writers and Broadcasters Association’s Louisiana Sports Writer of the Year.

Mule’ was a longtime member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame selection committee.

After leaving the Picayune in 2005, he continued to write for newspapers, including the Advocate, and magazines. He was a regular columnist for Tiger Rag,

“What a void he leaves,” said Tiger Rag publisher Jim Engster. “I love Marty and I loved his work.

“He was a true professional who cared about his work and the subjects he wrote about. We were very fortunate to have him writing for us.”

Engster pointed out that Mule’s final column was one on longtime New Orleans sports writer Peter Finney and the collection of his columns which was published last month.

“How fitting was that?” Engster asked. “A great one writing about another great one.”

Mule’s first history of the Sugar Bowl was published in 1985. A second updated and enlarged edition was published in 2010. Along with the two histories of the bowl, Mule’ did an account of each year’s game which was published in the program.

“Marty was the keeper of the whole history of the Sugar Bowl,” said Paul Hoolahan, the bowl’s chief executive officer. “No one else had his insight and perspective on the bowl.

“He also cared so much about the game and what it meant in the sports history of New Orleans and all of college football. And he was so good at it, there no adjective I can think of to describe it. The Sugar Bowl and I in particular, are overwhelmed by the loss.”

A native of New Orleans, Mule’ was a graduate of Redemptorist High School and LSU where he was a journalism major.

Mule’ worked at newspapers in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Pensacola, Florida and Thibodaux along with a stint as sports information director at Xavier before coming to the Times-Picayune in 1974.

Married for 48 years to the former Rosemary Bergeron, the Mules have three children, daughters Yvette (Kevin) Pitre and Stephanie (Eddie) Strohmeyer and son Michael, all of Covington, along with four grandchildren. Joseph, Katie and Carolina Strohmeyer and Connor Mule’.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at Mary Queen of Peace church in Mandeville. Visitation is from 11 to noon, followed by a Mass. Burial will be at Lakelawn-Metairie mausoleum.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect location for the funeral. Services will be held at Mary Queen of Peace church in Mandeville.