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Several ramshackle houses featured on advertisements for the HBO series “Treme” were demolished last weekdespite efforts by preservationists and show producers who wanted the row homes renovated.

The houses had roofs that were barely there and chunks of siding missing. They needed to be torn down because they were dangerous and an eyesore, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and several neighbors said.

The producers of the television show, set in New Orleans in the months after Hurricane Katrina, asked the mayor in a letter to hold off on razing the homes.

“What a powerful message it would send about the resiliency and recovery of the city for this block to be restored and transformed into desirable homes for returning residents,” the producers said in the letter.

Bradley Vogel of the National Trust for Historic Preservation said efforts to improve blight have gotten better since Mr. Landrieu took office last year. However, he said more needs to be done to get houses into the hands of potential developers and preservationists, and the vacant lots left behind will be little improvement.

Mr. Landrieu said he was committed to preserving the city’s historic architecture wherever possible. He noted the city’s work to move, rather than demolish, a number of historic homes on land now planned for a new medical center.

TV on DVD: What’s a solar flare?

“The Universe: Mega Collection” (A&E Home Entertainment, $179.95) gives amateur astronomers a 15-disc Blu-ray set compiling all five seasons of the History Channel’s highly educational documentary series.

Through 63 episodes delivering more than 50 hours of programming, the discs teach about minutia such as Mars’ Olympus Mons volcano, the sun’s coronal mass ejections, destructive dark energy and Titan’s methane lakes, with help from renowned scientists and some stunning, high-definition CGI animation.

Not-so-impressive extras include featurettes on meteors and comets, along with an image gallery and two dozen text facts about the universe.

A&E also tosses in a 16th Blu-ray offering the episode “7 Wonders of the Solar System” in 3-D for those early adopters of the latest home entertainment technology.

Joseph Szadkowski

Compiled from web and wire reports