CHICAGO — The 2005 Annual Convention &?Tabletop Business Session of the North American Building Materials Distribution Association, originally scheduled to take place next month in New Orleans, has been moved to Baltimore, the Chicago-based trade association announced.

The NBMDA Convention will take place Nov. 11 to 12 – the same date it had orginally been scheduled to take place in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.

“We are deeply saddened by the situation on the Gulf Coast,” said NBMDA president Andy Ellis. “We are highly sensitive to the loss of life and property in the area, and the many lives that have been disrupted. In comparison, the disruption to our planned annual convention in New Orleans is minor. With all of the other priorities on which the city must focus its resources, they will clearly not be in a position to host our event.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of New Orleans, and we look forward to hosting an NBMDA event in the city in the future,” Ellis added.

The change in venue to Baltimore allows the NBMDA to conduct its two-day convention on the same dates without changing its schedule of events, educational programming or exhibit session, according to association executive v.p. Kevin Gammonley.

More than 140 exhibitors and many of NBMDA’s members are expected to take part in the convention. The NBMDA represents wholesale distributors of specialty building products, including those aimed at the kitchen and bath industry.